As a respiratory disease, the pathogen SARS-CoV-2 that causes the disease Covid-19 is known to spread between humans via virus particles in water droplets and aerosols that come into contact with the eyes, nose, or mouth of uninfected individuals. As time passes, we are discovering new information about the disease, and just last week it was announced that for the first time it had been confirmed that a baby had caught Covid-19 from its mother while still in the womb. New research from Kansas State University, however, brings good news, as their results confirm for the first time that SARS-CoV-2 cannot be transmitted by mosquitoes.
The refreshing instance of good news was published in Scientific Reports and it explains how the pathogen was unable to infect or replicate in mosquitoes. The World Health Organization had stated prior to the research that mosquitoes couldn’t spread the disease, but the research constitutes the first conclusive data to support the theory so while the news is not surprising it is reassuring.
Carried out at the Biosecurity Research Institute (BRI), a biosecurity level-3 facility at Kansas University, the study tested Covid-19’s ability to replicate in three common and widely distributed species of mosquitoes: Aedes aegypti, Aedes albopictus, and Culex quinquefasciatus. The results showed that the pathogen was unable to infect and replicate within the blood-sucking insect species, meaning mosquitoes don’t have the capacity to catch or pass on the disease to human hosts they feed on.
"I am proud of the work we are doing at K-State to learn as much as we can about this and other dangerous pathogens," said Stephen Higgs, associate vice president for research and director at the BRI, in a statement. "This work was possible because of the unique capabilities of the BRI and the dedicated BRI and institutional staff."
The BRI are also carrying out ongoing investigations into other animal pathogens that can be transmitted from animals to people, including Rift Valley fever and Japanese encephalitis, as well as African and classical swine fever.
With unfolding symptoms revealing that Covid-19 causes anything from anosmia and foot lesions to blood clots and diabetes, it’s a relief to at least establish one thing SARS-CoV-2 can’t do. This novel and deadly disease continues to present a challenge for health care professionals fighting to contain and treat the virus, but each discovery brings us closer to better control its spread and impact on human life.