A new study from Colorado State University sheds light on how mosquitoes, which transmit deadly viruses such as dengue, can survive the infection that kills humans.
The researchers have found that Aedes mosquitoes avoid becoming ill by triggering an immediate, potent immune response.
However, since their immune system does not eliminate the virus, the mosquitoes are able to pass it on to a new victim.
With the new discovery, the researchers now aim to determine how the virus evades the mosquito's defence because that may help to fight disease by interrupting the growth of dengue virus within the mosquito before it can be transmitted.
The researchers showed that RNA interference - the mosquito immune response -is initiated immediately after they ingest blood containing dengue virus, but the virus multiplies in the mosquitoes nevertheless.
They said that genetic manipulation of RNA interference could be a significant weapon in stopping dengue virus transmission by Aedes aegypti.