Zika Virus Also Carried by Asian Tiger Mosquito, Research Suggests

In a recent research finding, traces of genetic material of Zika virus have been found in another mosquito species. Primarily carried by the yellow fever mosquito Aedes aegypti, RNA fragments of Zika have been found in Asian tiger mosquitoes during their genetic testing, researchers report.

However, the finding does not prove that Asian tiger mosquito can transmit Zika to individuals. But it certainly necessitates further research for the possibility of other carriers of Zika, as per the author of the study who is an associate professor at Florida Medical Entomology Laboratory at University of Florida. Further commenting via a new release from the Entomological Society of America, the author said that Aedes albopictus may be involved in transmission of Zika virus and is a concern for public health.

Further Research Needed to Ascertain New Carriers for Zika

Aedes albopictus is found across the world with a large number of hosts and has adapted to cold climates. However, the role of this mosquito in transmission of Zika virus is yet to be understood.

For the study part, Asian tiger mosquitoes were collected in Brazil and their eggs were hatched. The scientists found Asian tiger males to test positive for Zika RNA but not live Zika virus. These findings necessitate further research if Aedes albopictus can transmit Zika. These findings also underline the reason why insect scientists and medical researchers need to be extremely cautious while carrying out studies on mosquitoes.

The findings of the study further suggest that mosquitoes collected from areas with high number of Zika cases need to be tested for Zika RNA. In the event if these mosquitoes test positive for Zika RNA, they need to be tested for Zika virus before they are transported to be used in research.

Toyota Designs Robotic Leg for Patients with Paralysis

The uses and applications of robotics in the medical industry have significantly increased in the past few years and a number of innovative products in this area are making inroads, at least on experimental basis, in the global market. In a recent development, the famed Japanese carmaker Toyota has announced that it has designed a robotic leg, named Welwalk WW-1000, to help disabled people walk. The device has a mechanical frame, which fits the patient’s leg below the knee. The patients can practice to walk with the help of a special treadmill with the robotic leg.

The new device was demonstrated by the company in its Tokyo headquarters the previous week. Scientists at the country’s Fujita Health University helped Toyota design the robotic leg. The device is to be fitted on one leg of patients who are suffering from paralysis on one side of the body due to a disease or a stroke.

An Intelligent System
The device is attached to patient’s thigh, ankle, and knee using a strap and uses a motor to help bend and straighten patient’s knee. Sensors in the device provide real-time data about what is happening and the medical staff can control the system through a remote screen. Designers of the device state that the action helps barely enough, which is a good thing as too much of help can slow down the recovery for patients.

This device could help common paralysis caused due to health issues such as strokes that can happen to geriatrics. As Japan’s population increasingly ages, with around 26% of the country’s population over the age of 65 in 2015, this device could witness high demand after it hits the market. Toyota expects that the device will be seen in medical centers in the country through a rental program by the end of this year.