Transcript: Mosquito Mayhem | Jun 16, 2021

(soft music plays)

Against a black screen, the TVF International logo appears.

A Female Narrator says AS OUR CITIES GROW OUTWARDS AND UPWARDS, AND OUR CLIMATES WARM UP THE STAGE IS SET FOR MORE MOSQUITOES, MORE INFECTIONS, AND THE NEXT DEVASTATING OUTBREAK.

In animation, planet Earth spins turning red.

Sadie says CLIMATE CHANGE PUSHES THESE TEMPERATURES MORE INTO THESE SUITABLE ZONES FOR MOSQUITOES, SO MORE PEOPLE WILL BECOME AT RISK.

Pablo says YOU JUST NEED ONE INFECTED PERSON FOR THE CHAIN OF TRANSMISSION TO START AGAIN.

Nick says IT COULD COME BACK. IT REALLY COULD COME BACK.

(dramatic music plays)

The Narrator says THIS IS A HUNT FOR DISEASES TRANSMITTED BY A TINY INSECT... THAT IS BY FAR THE WORLD'S DEADLIEST CREATURE.

Fast clips show an insect, a bat and scientists examining Petri dishes.

Against a red abstract background, a title reads "Disease Hunters. Episode 3: Mosquito Mayhem."

A caption reads "Utah, USA."

The Narrator says NEAR THE DESERTS OF UTAH, LIVES A TROPICAL DISEASE SCIENTIST.

Duane Gubler has a white mustache and receding short hair. He wears glasses, a cowboy hat and a blue shirt.

Driving, Duane says I CAME BACK AFTER FIFTY-FIVE YEARS AND MY FAMILY WAS ALL STILL HERE. MY BROTHERS ARE HERE. I HAVE SISTERS HERE. MY PARENTS ARE DEAD. I'M 81, SO I GUESS THEY BETTER BE.
TOOK ME A LONG TIME TO DECIDE WHAT I WANTED TO DO IN LIFE, BUT ONCE I FOUND IT, IT WAS LOVE ALL THE WAY.

The Narrator says DR DUANE GUBLER IS ONE OF THE WORLD'S FOREMOST EXPERTS IN MOSQUITO-BORNE DISEASES.
HE HAS HELPED NATIONS FROM AFRICA, AMERICA And ASIA, AND HE'S A RESPECTED CONSULTANT TO SINGAPORE.
THE VETERAN DISEASE HUNTER SAYS MOSQUITOES ARE THE DEADLIEST CREATURES IN THE WORLD.

The caption changes to "Emeritus professor Duane J. Gubler. Duke-Nus' Emerging Infectious Diseases Programme."

Duane says MOSQUITOES CAUSE MORE DEATHS EVERY YEAR THAN ALL OTHER CAUSES COMBINED.
THE MAIN REASON IS THAT IT NEEDS THE BLOOD OF ANIMALS TO LAY ITS EGGS AND TO PERSIST IN NATURE.
AND THAT MEANS THAT IT HAS TO TAKE BLOOD MEALS FROM ANIMALS ON A REPEATED BASIS, AND IT BECAME A VERY EFFICIENT WAY TO TRANSMIT PATHOGENS FROM ONE ANIMAL TO ANIMAL, AND TO MAINTAIN THOSE PATHOGENS.

A mosquito sits on a snake.

The Narrator says EVERY YEAR MOSQUITOES INFECT NEARLY 700 MILLION HUMANS WORLDWIDE... .. AND THE DISEASES THEY CARRY KILL OVER A MILLION.
THESE TINY CREATURES HAVE HUMBLED THE POWERFUL THROUGHOUT HISTORY.
THEY'VE INFECTED KINGS...
POPES... AND PRESIDENTS.
AND THEY'VE HALTED ARMIES...
BOTH ANCIENT AND MODERN.

A black and white cartoon clip shows mosquitoes flying as planes.

A Male Narrator says TO UNDERSTAND THE MONTHS OF GRUELLING WORK AND PREPARATION THAT GO INTO A RAID SUCH AS THIS, WE MUST START AT THE VERY BEGINNING.

The Female Narrator says THE SECOND WORLD WAR BROUGHT AMERICA'S TROOPS INTO CONTACT WITH MOSQUITOES.
COUNTLESS SOLDIERS LAY SICK OR SLAIN BY DISEASES TRANSMITTED ON TROPICAL BATTLEFIELDS.

Duane says IN THE PACIFIC AND ASIAN THEATRES, TENS OF THOUSANDS OF TROOPS THAT WERE PUT OUT OF ORDER BECAUSE OF MALARIA AND DENGUE.

The Narrator says THE SECOND WORLD WAR TRIGGERED MAJOR SCIENTIFIC ADVANCES IN MOSQUITO CONTROL, AND NEW MEDICINE HELPED TO ERADICATE MALARIA IN MANY NATIONS.
BUT MALARIA HAS ENDURED...
AND IT CONTINUES TO ENDANGER HALF THE WORLD'S POPULATION.
IN 2018, MALARIA INFECTED 228 MILLION PEOPLE AND KILLED OVER 400,000.
TODAY, A CHILD DIES FROM THE DISEASE EVERY TWO MINUTES.
A MAJOR MALARIA BATTLEGROUND IS LOCATED IN SISAKET PROVINCE, ON THAILAND'S BORDER WITH CAMBODIA.
IN THE REGION'S MANY RUBBER PLANTATIONS, THIS DISEASE HAUNTS THE LONG-SUFFERING WORKERS.

The caption changes to "Sombat Sosarn. Rubber Tapper." Sombat is in his fifties, with a moustache and graying hair. He wears a striped polo-shirt.

Sombat washes dishes using a bucket in the woods.

Sombat says IN THE PAST SEVEN TO EIGHT YEARS, I'VE GOTTEN MALARIA EVERY YEAR.
SOMETIMES, UP TO THREE TIMES A YEAR.
TAPPING RUBBER ALL NIGHT LONG, YOU ARE EXPOSED TO ANOPHELES MOSQUITOES.
YES, I AM STILL INFECTED. I'VE BEEN BITTEN ALL OVER.
ONE LEG CAN BE COVERED IN SPECKS OF BLOOD, BECAUSE WHEN ANOPHELES MOSQUITOES BITE, BLOOD WILL COME OUT OF THEIR BACKSIDES, AND THE BLOOD STICKS TO YOU IN SPECKS.
WITHIN THREE DAYS, I WILL FALL SICK.

A close-up show shows Sombat's prosthetic leg.

The Narrator says IN SPITE OF THESE MALARIA RISKS, THE IMPOVERISHED WORKERS CAN'T AFFORD TO STOP WORKING.

Sombat says IF I CAN'T GO INTO THE FOREST TO TAP RUBBER, WHAT ELSE CAN I DO?

The Narrator says IT IS THE FEMALE ANOPHELES MOSQUITO THAT TRANSMITS MALARIA.
HUMID FORESTS AND MARSHLANDS ARE HER HUNTING GROUND OF CHOICE.
THERE SHE SEEKS BLOOD TO NOURISH HER EGGS.
SHE POKES HER LONG, THIN MOUTH THROUGH THE VICTIM'S SKIN, AND TARGETS A BLOOD VESSEL.
WHILE SUCKING BLOOD, HER SALIVA INTRODUCES MALARIA PARASITES.

An animation shows the process explained.

She continues THESE PARASITES INVADE LIVER CELLS WHERE THEY MULTIPLY AND BURST OUT IN THEIR THOUSANDS.
THESE PARASITES INFECT AND DESTROY RED BLOOD CELLS.
THE VICTIM'S RED BLOOD CELLS BECOME DEPLETED, CAUSING ANAEMIA AND SOMETIMES DEATH.
WHEN ANOPHELES MOSQUITOES BITE INFECTED PERSONS, THEY INGEST MORE PARASITES AND SUSTAIN THE CYCLE OF INFECTION.

The caption changes to "Bangkok, Thailand."

The Narrator says AT THAILAND'S MAHIDOL OXFORD TROPICAL MEDICINE RESEARCH UNIT, PROFESSOR NICK WHITE HAS BEEN STUDYING PARASITES THAT CAUSE MALARIA FOR OVER FOUR DECADES.

The caption changes to "Professor Nick White. Mahidol Oxford Tropical Medicine Research Unit." Nick is in his seventies, clean-shaven with receding white hair. He wears glasses and a white and blue checked shirt.

Nick says IT'S A LITTLE PARASITE THAT INFECTS THE RED BLOOD CELLS, AND WHEN PEOPLE HAVE MALARIA, THEY HAVE MANY OF THESE PARASITES IN THEIR BLOOD. WHEN PEOPLE BECOME ILL, THEY HAVE AT LEAST A HUNDRED MILLION, AND WHEN THEY'RE VERY ILL, THEY COULD HAVE A BILLION PARASITES.

The Narrator says THESE SINGLE-CELLED PARASITES ARE CALLED PLASMODIUM.
THEY ARE RESILIENT, ADAPTABLE ORGANISMS, AND SCIENTISTS ARE FINDING THEM HARD TO ELIMINATE IN THE BORDERLANDS.

Nick says IT'S A DISEASE OF MARGINALIZED COMMUNITIES, ACCESS AND PROSECUTING A VIGOROUS, ANTI-MALARIA CAMPAIGN IN THESE DIFFICULT AREAS IS DIFFICULT.

The Narrator says IN SISAKET PROVINCE IN NORTHEAST THAILAND, AN INITIATIVE IS ENABLING REMOTE BORDER VILLAGES TO ACCESS MALARIA CARE.

Chamnan sits in a wooden gallery. He is in his forties, clean-shaven with graying hair. He wears a blue shirt.

Chamnan says HELLO. HOW ARE YOU DOING?

San says I HAVE A FEVER.

The Narrator says THE MALARIA POST ENLISTS LOCAL VOLUNTEERS TO TEST PEOPLE FOR THE DISEASE.

Chamnan says THE PATIENT'S NAME IS MR. SAN.
ARE YOU AFRAID OF NEEDLES?

San says YES. I AM.

Chamnan says DON'T WORRY. IT'S NOT PAINFUL.

He takes a blood sample.

He says HAVING A MALARIA POST SET UP HERE IS CONVENIENT FOR VILLAGERS AND MAKES THEM FEEL GOOD.

The caption changes to "Chamnan Meewong. Malaria post volunteer."

Chamnan says THEY CAN GET TESTED AND KNOW THE RESULTS IMMEDIATELY.
IF THEY CAN'T COME HERE, I HAVE TO TRAVEL ON MY MOTORCYCLE TO HELP THEM AND TO TEST THEIR BLOOD FOR MALARIA WITHOUT A SERVICE FEE OF ANY KIND.
WHERE DO YOU STAY?

San says UNIT 55.

The Narrator says VOLUNTEERS CAN ADMINISTER MALARIA DRUGS AND THERAPIES, BUT THEY MUST REFER SERIOUS CASES TO THE DISTRICT HOSPITAL.
THIS HOSPITAL SERVES THREE TOWNSHIPS.
WITH THE HELP OF MAHIDOL OXFORD TROPICAL MEDICINE RESEARCH UNIT, IT'S ESTABLISHED A NEW MALARIA RESEARCH CENTRE.

The caption changes to "Namfon BUASIRI. Phu Sing Hospital." Namfon is in her early forties, with long black hair and bangs. She wears glasses and a white doctor apron.

Namfon says THE MALARIA CENTRE IS RESPONSIBLE FOR DISSEMINATING INFORMATION, DELEGATING TASKS, AND MAKING CONNECTIONS. FOR EXAMPLE, IF A PATIENT COMES FROM A MALARIA-PRONE AREA WITH FEVER, THE PROCEDURE IS THE STAFF WILL NEED TO REPORT THE CASE AND THEY CAN DIRECTLY SEE THE DOCTOR WITHOUT EVEN WAITING TO TEST FOR MALARIA.

The Narrator says BUT WORRYING TRENDS ARE NOW EMERGING.
THE RESEARCH CENTRE IS TRACKING MALARIA STRAINS IN PATIENTS THAT CAN RESIST A WIDE RANGE OF OUR DRUGS.

Nick says PEOPLE OFTEN ASK, WHY DOES RESISTANCE ALWAYS START HERE NEAR THE THAILAND CAMBODIA BORDER? AND THE HONEST ANSWER IS WE DON'T REALLY KNOW.
THE MOST IMPORTANT DRUG WE EVER HAD FOR MALARIA WAS A DRUG CALLED CHLOROQUINE, WHICH WAS INTRODUCED JUST AFTER THE SECOND WORLD WAR. AND LITERALLY HUNDREDS OF TONS OF CHLOROQUINE WERE CONSUMED EVERY YEAR. BUT BECAUSE SO MUCH WAS USED AND BECAUSE IT WAS USED WITHOUT ANY OTHER DRUG, RESISTANCE TO CHLOROQUINE EMERGED RIGHT HERE IN THAILAND.

An aerial view shows a dense forest.

The Narrator says THE REGION'S MALARIA PARASITES SPREAD CHLOROQUINE-RESISTANCE AROUND THE WORLD.
NEW MALARIA DRUGS LIKE ARTEMISININ HAD TO BE DEPLOYED.
TO EXTEND THE LIFE OF THESE NEW MEDICINES, DOCTORS USED THEM IN COMBINATION WITH OTHER TREATMENTS.

Nick says WE USE MORE THAN ONE DRUG TO PROTECT AGAINST THE EMERGENCE OF RESISTANCE. SO, EACH COMPONENT IF THERE ARE TWO DRUGS, THEY BOTH PROTECT EACH OTHER.

The Narrator says BUT SOME MALARIA PARASITES HAVE EVOLVED... AND CAN NOW RESIST A COCKTAIL OF DRUGS.
DISEASE CONTROL AUTHORITIES IN BANGKOK BELIEVE THIS MULTI-DRUG RESISTANT MALARIA IS A SERIOUS CRISIS.

The caption changes to "Doctor Darin Areechokchai. Department of Disease Control." Darin is in her thirties, with a black ponytail. She wears a blue doctor apron.

Darin looks at graphs on a computer screen.

Darin says THIS IS SOMETHING THAT HAS BECOME A FOCUS, OR A DRIVING FORCE FOR THE ADMINISTRATORS TO EXCHANGE INFORMATION ABOUT HANDLING DRUG-RESISTANT MALARIA, AND TO DISCUSS HOW WE CAN HELP EACH OTHER, THROUGH VARIOUS ACTIVITIES, TO PREVENT IT FROM SPREADING FURTHER.

The Narrator says OVER IN SINGAPORE, DR PABLO BIFANI IS TESTING A NEW DRUG THAT COULD WORK ON MULTI-DRUG RESISTANT STRAINS OF MALARIA.

The caption changes to "Associate Professor Pablo Bifani. Singapore Immunology Network (SIGN), A*STAR." Pablo is in his late forties, clean-shaven with receding hair. He wears a white doctor apron.

In a lab, Pablo says OUR AIM IS TO FIND A NEW ANTIMALARIA THAT WILL TARGET MULTIPLE STAGES OF THE MALARIA PARASITE, THE BLOOD STAGE – BUT IDEALLY ALSO LIVER STAGE, AND SO ON.

The Narrator says THOUGH DR BIFANI HAS MADE SOME BREAKTHROUGHS, HE ARGUES THAT CONSTANTLY INVENTING NEW DRUGS IS NOT THE BEST WAY FORWARD.

Pablo says SO TYPICALLY, THE COST FOR DEVELOPING A NEW DRUG IS ESTIMATED 1 BILLION DOLLARS, AND IT TAKES ABOUT 10 TO 12 YEARS. THE INVESTMENT REQUIRED IS VERY SIGNIFICANT AND THERE'S NOT MUCH PROFIT TO BE MADE FROM DEVELOPING DRUGS FOR NEGLECTED DISEASE.
SO RATHER THAN TRYING TO CONTINUE TO INVEST IN DEVELOPING NEW DRUGS OVER AND OVER, WE CAN MITIGATE THE PROBLEM BY PROPER MANAGEMENT OF THE USE OF THE EXISTING DRUGS.

The Narrator says DOCTOR BIFANI IS CONCERNED ABOUT ANOTHER EMERGING PROBLEM.
NEW STRAINS OF MALARIA CROSSING FROM WILDLIFE... TO HUMANS.

Pablo says YES, SO THE IDEA OF ZOONOTIC DISEASE IS VERY IMPORTANT NOW, ESPECIALLY WITH COVID-19.

HUMAN MALARIA HAS BEEN ERADICATED IN SINGAPORE. HOWEVER, YOU DO HAVE MONKEY MALARIA IN SINGAPORE.

A monkey sits on a road as a car passes by.

The Narrator says IN 1982, SINGAPORE WAS DECLARED MALARIA-FREE BY THE WORLD HEALTH ORGANISATION.
HOWEVER, IT CONTINUES TO SEE HUNDREDS OF MALARIA CASES EACH YEAR, MOSTLY IMPORTED.

Nick says THE MOSQUITOES ARE STILL THERE, AND SO THE POTENTIAL FOR MALARIA TO COME BACK IS THERE.

The Narrator says RAPID URBANISATION SEPARATED PEOPLE FROM THE SLUMS AND SWAMPS, THAT MALARIA-CARRYING MOSQUITOES THRIVE IN.
BUT HIGH-RISE LIVING CAN'T KEEP OUT ANOTHER INVADING MOSQUITO THAT POSITIVELY THRIVES IN THE CONCRETE JUNGLE.

Ooi says AS MALARIA CAME DOWN AND SINGAPORE GREW, AEDES AEGYPTI TOOK OVER.

The Narrator says SINGAPORE.
A CITY-STATE IN THE TROPICS.
WHEN THE MONSOON RAINS COME, THE MOSQUITO POPULATION RISES.
AND POOLS OF WATER BECOME FERTILE GROUNDS TO LAY THEIR EGGS.

The caption changes to "Associate Professor NG Lee Ching. National Environment Agency." NG is in her mid-forties, with shoulder-length brown hair and bangs. She wears a purple doctor apron.

NG says SINGAPORE HAVING A TROPICAL CLIMATE IS VERY CONDUCIVE FOR MOSQUITO BREEDING, ESPECIALLY THIS AEDES AEGYPTI WHICH ALSO IS VERY ADAPTED TO URBAN SETTINGS.

The caption changes to "Professor Ooi Eng Eong. Duke-Nus' Emerging Infectious Diseases Programme. " Ooi is in his late forties, clean-shaven with black hair. He wears a white and blue checked shirt.

Ooi says AEDES AEGYPTI, IT EMERGED FROM THE FOREST JUNGLES OF AFRICA, AND THAT'S HOW IT GOT ITS NAME.
BUT AS IT SPREAD, IT BECAME VERY ADAPTED TO GROW IT TO THRIVING IN URBAN CENTRES, RIGHT, THE BUILT ENVIRONMENT. AND THAT'S WHERE HUMANS TEND TO NOW CONGREGATE BECAUSE OF ECONOMIC ACTIVITIES.

The Narrator says AEDES AEGYPTI IS AN INVASIVE SPECIES OF MOSQUITO THAT THRIVES IN SINGAPORE'S CONCRETE JUNGLE.
IT ONLY NEEDS A POOL OF WATER THE SIZE OF A COIN TO LAY ITS EGGS, AND THE CITY HAS A RICH VARIETY OF BREEDING GROUNDS.

NG says THEY LIKE TO BREED IN ARTIFICIAL CONTAINERS, THEY LIKE TO STAY IN HOMES, PEOPLE'S HOMES. INFRASTRUCTURE THAT WE HAVE BUILT FOR OURSELVES, AEDES AEGYPTI TAKES ADVANTAGE.

An animated map shows colourful spots popping up.

The Narrator says BY THE END OF SEPTEMBER 2020, NEARLY 200 DENGUE CLUSTERS HAD BEEN REPORTED.
AMID THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC, MANY SINGAPORE RESIDENTS WERE WORKING FROM HOME.
THIS PUT THEM IN STRIKING DISTANCE OF HOME-DWELLING MOSQUITOES.

Ooi says AEDES AEGYPTI DOESN'T FLY VERY FAR AND THE PEAK BITING PERIOD IS DURING THE DAY, SO USUALLY FOR ADULTS WE ARE AT WORK, BUT NOW EVERY DAY OF THE DAY OF THE WEEK, WE ARE AT HOME.

(threatening music plays)

The Narrator says THE RISE IN CITIZENS WORKING FROM HOME, HAS LIKELY CONTRIBUTED TO SINGAPORE'S WORST-EVER DENGUE OUTBREAK.

Female News Reporter 1 says SINGAPORE COULD SEE A THOUSAND DENGUE CASES WEEKLY IN THE WEEKS AHEAD.

A Male News Reporter says ANOTHER FATALITY TAKING THE TOLL TO 20.

Female News Reporter 2 says DENGUE CASES HERE WHICH HAS CROSSED THE 25,000 MARK THIS YEAR ALREADY.

TV news headlines read "Singapore's fight against dengue. Weekly dengue cases could spike to historical high of 1,000: masagos. Dengue in Singapore 20 deaths so far this year; 18 worked or lived in active clusters. About 25,000 dengue cases in total over 46,000 bottles of repellent given out to students in selected schools."

The Narrator says DENGUE OUTBREAKS SPREAD FAST, BUT THEY ALWAYS START WITH A SINGLE BITE.
WHEN AN INFECTED FEMALE AEDES AEGYPTI MOSQUITO BITES A HUMAN, THE VIRUS ENTERS THE SKIN CELLS AND BLOOD CELLS, BEFORE INFECTING LYMPH NODES.
THERE, THE VIRUS MULTIPLIES AND FLOODS THE BLOODSTREAM.
WITHIN DAYS, THE VIRUS CAN INFECT MAJOR ORGANS LIKE THE LIVER AND HEART.
WHEN THE HUMAN HOST TRAVELS TO ANOTHER NEIGHBOURHOOD OR RETURNS HOME, OTHER AEDES AEGYPTI MOSQUITOES CAN SUCK UP THEIR INFECTED BLOOD.

A fast-motion clip shows a boy going home after playing soccer.

The Narrator says THESE MOSQUITOES CAN THEN PASS THE VIRUS ONTO THEIR NEXT VICTIM.
IN SEVERE DENGUE CASES, BLOOD VESSELS HAEMORRHAGE, BLOOD PRESSURE DROPS, AND THE HEART IS FORCED TO PUMP HARDER.
WITHOUT MEDICAL ASSISTANCE, THE HEART CAN SHUT DOWN, PUSHING THE VICTIM TOWARDS SHOCK AND POTENTIAL DEATH.
IN THE CITY OF UBON, THAILAND, SUNPASIT HOSPITAL DEALS WITH REGULAR OUTBREAKS OF DENGUE.
THE WARDS FILL WITH DENGUE PATIENTS, AND MOST OF THEM ARE CHILDREN.

The caption changes to "Doctor Chariya Tanee. Sunpasit Hospital." Chariya is in her forties, with short brown hair. She wears a face mask and a white doctor apron.

In a large hospital room, Chariya says MAY I TAKE A LOOK? I AM DOCTOR CHARIYA.
HOW ARE YOU TODAY, JACKPOT?
ARE YOU FEELING WELL? DO YOU HAVE ANY FEVER?
DENGUE CAUSES SEVERE SYMPTOMS AND IS COMPLICATED BECAUSE IT CAN LEAD TO BLEEDING.
DOES YOUR STOMACH HURT, JACKPOT?

Around 12 years old, Jackpot says NO.

Chariya says ANY PAIN? DO YOU FEEL LIKE VOMITING?

Jackpot says NO.

Chariya says FOR EXAMPLE, CHILDREN TEND TO HAVE NOSEBLEEDS AND BLEEDING OF THE GUMS WHEREAS ADULTS WILL BLEED IN THE DIGESTIVE TRACT.

The Narrator says THERE IS NO WIDELY AVAILABLE DRUG TREATMENT FOR DENGUE.
CHILDREN RECOVERING FROM THE DISEASE CAN DEVELOP IMMUNITY TO CERTAIN STRAINS OF
DENGUE, AND THEN CARRY THIS INTO ADULTHOOD.
MOST THAI CHILDREN CONTRACT DENGUE, SO HERD IMMUNITY TO THIS VIRUS IS HIGH.
BACK IN THE 1960S, SINGAPORE ALSO HAD HIGH IMMUNITY LEVELS TO DENGUE.

Ooi says IN THE SIXTIES, BECAUSE DENGUE WAS SO COMMON, CHILDREN WERE GETTING DENGUE. SO THAT, SO MUCH SO THAT BY THE TIME THEY GREW UP TO BECOME ADULTS, THEY WERE IMMUNE TO DENGUE BECAUSE THEY GOT IT AS A CHILD, RIGHT?
BUT ONCE YOU STARTED THE CONTROL THE MOSQUITO POPULATION, CHILDREN WERE NO LONGER GETTING DENGUE. SO, THE TRANSMISSION LEVEL GOES DOWN.
OVERTIME, SINGAPORE'S IMMUNITY LEVEL AS A WHOLE POPULATION STARTED TO GO DOWN.

The Narrator says THE ISLAND'S CROWDED SLUMS AND SWAMPLANDS, WERE IDEAL BREEDING GROUNDS FOR MOSQUITOES.
A DESTRUCTION OF DISEASE-BEARING MOSQUITOES ACT WAS PASSED IN 1964, ALONGSIDE A POST-INDEPENDENCE MISSION BY THE COUNTRY'S FIRST PRIME MINISTER, TO MAKE AND KEEP SINGAPORE CLEAN.

In off, Prime Minister says WE MUST CREATE AN AWARENESS OF EVERYONE'S DUTY TO KEEP SINGAPORE CLEAN. AND THE WAY ANY NEIGHBOUR SOILS HIS HOME AND BREEDS FLIES AND MOSQUITOES HAS BECOME YOUR PERSONAL BUSINESS.

Duane says WHAT THAT DID WAS IT STIMULATED THE SCIENTISTS IN SINGAPORE TO DEVELOP A VERY EFFECTIVE MOSQUITO CONTROL PROGRAM BASICALLY INVOLVING THE PEOPLE. THEY WERE FREE OF DENGUE, ESSENTIALLY FOR THE BETTER PART OF 20 YEARS.

The Narrator says BY THE 1990S, THERE WAS FAR GREATER MOSQUITO CONTROL.
CHILDREN WHO NOW GREW UP IN SINGAPORE, WEREN'T EXPOSED TO MOSQUITO-BORNE DISEASES.

Ooi says WE KNOW FROM STUDIES DONE IN THE PAST THAT CHILDREN ENTERING PRIMARY SCHOOL IN SINGAPORE, ONLY ABOUT 0.8 percent OF THEM HAVE EVER HAD DENGUE BEFORE.

The Narrator says BUT MOSQUITO CONTROL HAS BECOME A DOUBLE-EDGED SWORD.
WHILE IT BRINGS DOWN RATES OF INFECTION, IT CAN RENDER CITIZENS LESS IMMUNE TO OUTBREAKS OF DENGUE.
SCIENTISTS HAVE LONG TRIED TO CREATE VACCINES AGAINST DENGUE, BUT WITH MIXED RESULTS.
DOCTOR LOK SHEEMEI HAS SPENT OVER TWO DECADES STUDYING THE DENGUE VIRUS AND HAS RECENTLY DISCOVERED HOW IT EVADES DETECTION.

Scientists work with samples in a lab.

The caption changes to "Professor Lok Sheemei. Duke-Nus' Emerging Infectious Diseases Programme." Lok is in her early forties, with short black hair. She wears a black sleeveless shirt.

Lok says I FIND THAT DENGUE IS QUITE A SMART VIRUS. THERE'S A NUMEROUS WAY IT CAN DISGUISE ITSELF. IT'S A VILLAIN AND YOUR IMMUNE SYSTEM IS THE POLICE. SO, THIS VILLAIN CAN CHANGE ITS SHAPE WHEN IT WANTS TO ESCAPE FROM THE POLICEMEN.

The Narrator says THE CRYO-ELECTRON MICROSCOPE AT NUS HAS GREATLY ENHANCED DR LOK'S RESEARCH.
IT'S ENABLED HER TEAM TO FREEZE, PHOTOGRAPH AND 3D MODEL EXACTLY HOW THE DENGUE VIRUS CHANGES SHAPE UNDER DIFFERENT CONDITIONS.
DENGUE IS SNEAKY, IT'S A SHAPESHIFTER.
IN A MOSQUITO AT 29 DEGREES CELSIUS, THE VIRUS' ENVELOPE IS SMOOTH.
BUT INSIDE A HUMAN WITH AN AVERAGE TEMPERATURE OF 37 DEGREES CELSIUS, THE VIRUS TURNS ROUGH.
ONCE THE HUMAN HOST REACHES A FEVER OF 40 DEGREES, THE VIRUS MORPHS INTO A BUMPY OR CLUB-SHAPED FORM.
THIS SHAPESHIFTING ENABLES THE VIRUS TO EVADE OUR IMMUNE SYSTEM.

Lok says FOR VACCINE DEVELOPMENT, YOU KNOW, THE VACCINE IS USED TO TRAIN YOUR BODY IMMUNE SYSTEM TO RECOGNIZE IT. SO, YOU MUST PUT ALL THESE DIFFERENT STRUCTURES THAT IT CAN CHANGE INTO SO THAT YOUR BODY WILL BE TRAINED TO RECOGNIZE ALL OF THEM.

The Narrator says DR SHEEMEI'S DISCOVERY HAS HELPED RESEARCHERS SEE A UNIQUE ASPECT OF DENGUE'S FORM.
AND THE VIRUS ISN'T JUST ONE KIND OF SHAPESHIFTER.
THERE ARE FOUR DIFFERENT DENGUE SEROTYPES.
DEVELOPING A SUCCESSFUL THERAPY THAT WORKS ACROSS ALL FOUR DENGUE SEROTYPES HAS BEEN CHALLENGING.
BUT SINGAPORE'S AGENCY FOR SCIENCE TECHNOLOGY AND RESEARCH - A*STAR - HAS FOUND A SOLUTION.
ITS SIGN-3C LAB IS IN ADVANCED STAGES OF TESTING FOR A NEW TREATMENT THAT USES ANTIBODIES DEVELOPED IN A LAB.
THIS IS THE SIGN-3C MONOCLONAL ANTIBODY.
ONCE INJECTED INTO A PATIENT, THESE ANTIBODIES HUNT DOWN THE ELUSIVE DENGUE VIRUS.
THEY SEEK TO BOND WITH UNIQUE STRUCTURES ON THE SURFACE OF DENGUE.
ONCE THEY FIX TOGETHER, THE ANTIBODIES RALLY THE IMMUNE SYSTEM TO ATTACK THE VIRUS.
THESE SPECIAL ANTIBODIES CAN BIND WITH ALL FOUR DENGUE SEROTYPES.

The caption changes to "Professor Laurent Rénia. A*STar infectious diseases laboratories." Laurent is in his mid-fifties, clean-shaven and bald. He wears glasses and a white doctor apron.

In a lab, Laurent says AND THE ANTIBODY WILL BE THE KEY AND IT WILL RECOGNISE SPECIFICALLY THE PATHOGEN SO LIKE THE KEY ENTERING THE LOCK.
AND WHEN IT'S RECOGNISED IT NEUTRALISES THE VIRUS. SO, THE VIRUS CANNOT ENTER THE CELLS OR CANNOT GROW AND WILL BE ELIMINATED BY THE BODY.

The Narrator says THIS TREATMENT WAS DEVELOPED BY STUDYING THE IMMUNE CELLS AND ANTIBODIES OF PATIENTS, WHO HAD SUCCESSFULLY RECOVERED FROM AT LEAST TWO DIFFERENT DENGUE INFECTIONS.

Laurent says WHEN YOU HAVE MULTIPLE INFECTIONS, YOU TEND TO DEVELOP ANTIBODIES WHICH COULD RECOGNISE ALL THE DENGUE VIRUSES. THAT'S WHY OUR APPROACH WAS TO SELECT PATIENTS WHICH HAVE AT LEAST SEEN TWO DENGUE INFECTIONS.
AND WE WILL TAKE THE BLOOD FROM THIS PERSON AND ISOLATE THE B CELLS. THE CELLS WHICH PRODUCE THE ANTIBODIES.

The Narrator says SINGAPORE'S NATIONAL CENTRE FOR INFECTIOUS DISEASES HELPED A*STAR IDENTIFY RECOVERED DENGUE PATIENTS WITH THE MOST POTENT ANTIBODIES.

The caption changes to "Professor Leo Yee-Sin. National centre for infectious diseases." Leo is in her fifties, with short black hair and bangs. She wears a purple blouse and glasses.

Leo says WE ESTABLISH A COHORT TO ENROL PATIENTS WITH ACUTE DENGUE, FOLLOW THEM UP OVER A PERIOD OF TIME. FROM THERE, THEN WE HAVE FURTHER LABORATORY TESTS IN COLLABORATION WITH THE A*STAR TO UNDERSTAND HOW THE BODY RESPONDS. AND THE AVAILABILITY OF MONOCLONAL THERAPY IS ONE OF THE OPTIONS THAT WE ARE CURRENTLY LOOKING AT.

The Narrator says IF THE SIGN-3C ANTIBODY PASSES TESTING AND MANUFACTURING CHECKS, IT COULD BE HEADING TO SINGAPORE HOSPITALS AND CLINICS IN THE NEARER FUTURE.
AND BEYOND SINGAPORE, THIS THERAPY COULD HAVE A SIGNIFICANT GLOBAL IMPACT.
BUT THE CLOCK IS TICKING.
DENGUE HAS BECOME ENDEMIC IN MORE THAN 120 COUNTRIES.
AND AS OUR CLIMATE HEATS UP, MOSQUITOES COULD SPREAD EVEN FURTHER.

An animated world map shows enlarging red areas.

In the woods, Lawrence says A LOT OF MOSQUITOES UNDER HERE. A LOT OF MOSQUITOES DOWN HERE TOO.

The Narrator says CLIMATE CHANGE THREATENS OUR WORLD, RISKING OUR WATER AND FOOD SUPPLIES, AND ENDANGERING OUR ENERGY SECURITY.
WARMER CLIMATES ALSO RISK UNLEASHING ANOTHER CRISIS.
MOSQUITOES.

The caption changes to "Associate Professor Sadie J. Ryan. UF Emerging Pathogens Institute." Sadie is in her mid-forties, with long wavy brown hair. She wears a white shirt and a necklace.

In a modern loving room, Sadie says SO AEDES AEGYPTI MOSQUITOES ARE CONSTRAINED BY CERTAIN TEMPERATURE BOUNDS. AND AS THE CLIMATE WARMS, WE'RE GOING TO SEE THAT MORE MONTHS OF THE YEAR AS SUITABLE FOR ITS SURVIVAL AND TRANSMISSION OF THESE DISEASES. SO, MORE PEOPLE WILL BECOME AT RISK.

The caption changes to "Gainesville, Florida."

The Narrator says AEDES AEGYPTI MOSQUITOES ARE A RARE SIGHT IN NORTHERN FLORIDA.
DURING THE WINTER, TEMPERATURES CAN DROP TO SIX DEGREES CELSIUS.
BUT AT THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA'S EMERGING PATHOGENS INSTITUTE, DR SADIE RYAN BELIEVES MOSQUITO NUMBERS ARE RISING IN THE CITY.

Sadie says SO, THE AEDES AEGYPTI MOSQUITO IS INVASIVE IN THE AMERICAS. AND IT HAS BEEN SPOTTED AGAIN IN GAINESVILLE FOR THE FIRST TIME SINCE THE 90S THIS SUMMER. AND IT'S WORRISOME BECAUSE IT'S THE MAJOR TRANSMITTER OF DISEASES LIKE DENGUE, CHIKUNGUNYA AND ZIKA.
PEOPLE THINK TROPICAL DISEASES AREN'T HERE IN THE US BECAUSE THE US IS NOT IN THE TROPICS. AND I THINK THAT MAYBE THEY DON'T REALIZE HOW MUCH OF FLORIDA AND TEXAS REALLY DO HAVE AMPLE CONDITIONS.

The Narrator says IN TEMPERATE NORTHERN FLORIDA, MOSQUITOES TEND TO BE ACTIVE ONLY DURING THE SUMMER MONTHS.
BUT IN THE TROPICAL SOUTH, MOSQUITOES ARE PRESENT ALL YEAR ROUND.

The caption changes to "Vero Beach, Florida."

Lawrence puts a black net on the end of a metallic aspirator. He is in his forties, clean-shaven with curly brown hair. He wears glasses and a white shirt.

The caption changes to "Doctor Lawrence E. Reeves. UF Florida Medical Entomology Lab."

Lawrence says THESE ASPIRATORS ARE ESSENTIALLY MOSQUITO VACUUMS.
SO, WE'RE GOING OUT WITH THIS MOSQUITO ASPIRATOR TO KIND OF COLLECT BLOOD FED MOSQUITOES, WE'LL BRING THEM BACK INTO THE LAB AND WE'LL KIND OF JURASSIC PARK STYLE EXTRACT DNA FROM THEM IN ORDER TO FIGURE OUT WHAT HOST ANIMAL THEY'VE BEEN FEEDING ON.

The Narrator says DOCTOR LAWRENCE REEVES IS TRACKING THE FEEDING PATTERNS OF MOSQUITOES ACROSS THE REGION, AND HIS FIELD WORK HAS TAKEN HIM FROM THE DESERTS OF NORTHERN MEXICO TO THE RAINFORESTS OF BRAZIL.
HE COLLECTS SAMPLES USING AN ASPIRATOR, WHICH IS SIMILAR TO A LARGE VACUUM CLEANER.

In the woods, Lawrence says SO HERE IN FLORIDA, WE HAVE SEVERAL MOSQUITO SPECIES THAT ARE DOMINATING THE LANDSCAPE. ONE OF THEM IS GOING TO BE CULEX NIGRIPALPUS THAT'S REALLY ABUNDANT IN PLACES LIKE THIS.
SO, WITH THIS MOSQUITO THROUGHOUT MOST OF THE YEAR, THEY'RE NOT REALLY FEEDING FROM HUMANS. IN THE SPRING, THEY'LL FEED MOSTLY FROM BIRDS. BUT WHEN FALL COMES AROUND, THEY START SHIFTING TOWARDS MAMMALS.

The Narrator says DOCTOR REEVES' FASCINATION WITH THESE INSECTS BEGAN WHEN HE WAS BITTEN BY A MOSQUITO IN ASIA.

Lawrence says SO, WHEN I WAS DOING MY MASTER'S RESEARCH IN THE PHILIPPINES, I PICKED UP DENGUE FROM PROBABLY AN AEDES AEGYPTI MOSQUITO THAT WAS FLYING AROUND AT MY GRANDMOTHER'S HOUSE OVER THERE.
SO, THEN I SPENT ABOUT A WEEK NOT EATING, HANGING OUT IN A UN-AIR-CONDITIONED ROOM, PRETTY MISERABLE WITH DENGUE.
IT WAS PROBABLY THE WORST EXPERIENCE OF MY LIFE.
EVER SINCE THEN, THAT KIND OF PUSHED ME TO STUDY MOSQUITOES.
SO NOW, ANY TIME I'M IN THE FIELD, I'M DEFINITELY PROTECTING MYSELF FROM MOSQUITOES.

He sprays his hands and says MOSQUITOES UNDER HERE. A LOT OF MOSQUITOES DOWN HERE TOO.
BUT HERE IN FLORIDA, WE'VE BEEN SEEING KIND OF IN RECENT YEARS AN INFLUX OF NEW SPECIES COMING IN FROM AROUND THE WORLD, SO WE HAVE THESE LIKE CENTRAL AND SOUTH AMERICAN MOSQUITOES THAT ARE SHOWING UP HERE IN FLORIDA AND THEY'RE BECOMING ESTABLISHED.
SO IT IS POSSIBLE THAT THROUGH WARMING TEMPERATURES, OUR CLIMATE HERE IN FLORIDA IS MORE SUITABLE FOR THESE MOSQUITO SPECIES TO BECOME ESTABLISHED.
YOU WANT TO TURN THAT OFF? YEAH, THANK YOU. ALRIGHT.

He shows a bag and says THERE'S PROBABLY 200 TO 300 IN HERE.
SO, PUT THEM ON DRY ICE AND THEN LOOK THROUGH THEM UNDER THE MICROSCOPE. AWESOME!

The Narrator says DOCTOR REEVES IS CONCERNED THAT THE AEDES MOSQUITOES THAT GAVE HIM DENGUE FEVER IN THE PHILIPPINES, COULD BE SPREADING ACROSS FLORIDA.
THE ASIAN TIGER MOSQUITO - AEDES ALBOPICTUS, FIRST ARRIVED IN AMERICA IN THE 1980S VIA A SHIPMENT OF USED TIRES.

Lawrence says AEDES AEGYPTI AND AEDES ALBOPICTUS ARE MOSTLY GOING TO BE IN KIND OF THESE MORE DEVELOPED AREAS. THEY FEED ON HUMANS AS HOSTS AND THEY RELY IN PART ON HUMAN MADE WATER HOLDING CONTAINERS FOR THEIR LARVAE.

Now, in a lab, he says SO WE GOT TO SORT THE DEBRIS FROM THE INSECTS COLLECTED. WE'VE GOT A GOOD NUMBER OF BLOOD FED MOSQUITOES, BUT I'M NOT SEEING ANY AEDES AEGYPTI OR ANY AEDES ALBOPICTUS. WE DID GET A GOOD NUMBER OF CULEX NIGRIPALPUS THOUGH.
SO, ANY PLACE THAT IS KIND OF FORESTED OR JUST NATURAL, WE DON'T SEE QUITE SO MANY OF THESE AEDES MOSQUITOES.
TODAY WE REALLY ONLY SEE AEDES AEGYPTI IN FAR SOUTHERN FLORIDA AND IN THE MOST URBANISED AREAS.

The Narrator says MIAMI IS LOCATED ON THE SOUTHERN TIP OF FLORIDA.
THE CITY'S TURQUOISE WATERS AND SUN-KISSED BEACHES ATTRACT MILLIONS OF TOURISTS ALL YEAR ROUND.
BUT COULD THE GROWING PRESENCE OF AEDES MOSQUITOES THREATEN TO DRIVE THEM AWAY?
AT THE MIAMI DADE MOSQUITO CONTROL DEPARTMENT, DIRECTOR DR WILLIAM PETRIE IS CLOSELY MONITORING THE LOCAL MOSQUITO POPULATION.

William walks into an office. He is in his late fifties, with curly white hair. He wears glasses, a face mask and a blue polo-shirt.

William says TERESA, THAT'S A PILE OF MOSQUITOS YOU HAVE GOT THERE.

Looking into a microscope, Teresa says SO, THIS IS A COLLECTION OF MOSQUITOES FROM REMOTE AREAS. THEY ARE FROM THE TRAPS. WE HAVE A LOT OF, WHICH ARE THE DARKER MOSQUITOES THAT YOU SEE, AND WE ALSO HAVE A LOT OF...

The Narrator says DR PETRIE BELIEVES THAT BEFORE THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC, DISEASES TRANSMITTED FROM AEDES MOSQUITOES HAD THE MOST DETRIMENTAL IMPACT ON MIAMI'S ECONOMY.

William says ZIKA OUTBREAK IN 2016 CAUSED THE STATE TO ANNOUNCE A STATE OF EMERGENCY.
CDC (CENTRE FOR DISEASE CONTROL AND PREVENTION) TOOK THE UNUSUAL STEP OF DECLARING PART OF MIAMI-DADE COUNTY RECOMMENDED NOT TO VISIT. SO, THERE WAS A TREMENDOUS ECONOMIC IMPACT.

The caption changes to "Doctor William Petrie. Miami-Dade County Mosquito Control."

The Narrator says MIAMI'S PORTS CONNECT THE USA TO THE CARIBBEAN, CENTRAL AND SOUTH AMERICA.
THE CITY IS A GATEWAY TO NORTHERN AMERICA FOR PEOPLE FROM COUNTRIES WHERE MOSQUITO-BORNE DISEASES LIKE ZIKA AND DENGUE ARE ENDEMIC.

William says IT'S NOT MOSQUITOES COMING IN WITH DISEASE. THAT'S A MISCONCEPTION. IT'S HUMAN BEINGS TRAVELING WITH THE DISEASE.
DENGUE FIGURES FOR THE AMERICAS ARE APPROACHING TWO MILLION CASES FOR THIS YEAR ALONE. SO, DENGUE IS CERTAINLY ON THE HORIZON. AND THAT'S THE MOSQUITO BORNE DISEASE THAT WE AT THE MOMENT HAVE TO BE MOST VIGILANT AGAINST.

The Narrator says BACK IN NORTH FLORIDA, DR SADIE RYAN IS TRACKING HOW CLIMATE CHANGE COULD CREATE MORE REGIONS FOR AEDES MOSQUITOES TO FLOURISH.
HER MODELS CALCULATE THAT 29 DEGREES CELSIUS IS IDEAL FOR AEDES AEGYPTI TO TRANSMIT DENGUE.

Sadie says SO, WHAT WE KNOW IS THAT THERE'S GOING TO BE THIS NORTHWARD PUSH OF THOSE WARMER TEMPERATURES.
SO, WHEN YOU HAVE A NEW POPULATION THAT HAS NEVER SEEN THESE DISEASES BEFORE, THEY MAY NOT HAVE THE IMMUNE PROFILE THAT OTHER POPULATIONS WHERE THESE DISEASES ARE ALREADY CIRCULATING HAVE. AND SO, YOU'LL OFTEN SEE EXPLOSIVE OUTBREAKS, AND SO THAT'S THE MAJOR CONCERN.
IN SOUTH ASIA, WE SEE THAT THERE'S THIS HUGE INCREASE IN THE NEW NUMBER OF PEOPLE WHO ARE IN THESE SUITABLE TEMPERATURES FOR TRANSMISSION. AND THAT'S BECAUSE IT'S EVEN A SMALL AMOUNT OF SHIFT WITH CLIMATE CHANGE WILL BE ENCOUNTERING A LOT OF NEW, HIGHLY DENSE POPULATIONS.

The Narrator says CLIMATE CHANGE AND GLOBALISATION HAVE BECOME NEAR-IMPOSSIBLE TRENDS TO CONTROL.
AND IF NEW MEDICINES ARE TOO COSTLY TO DEVELOP, WHAT'S THE NEXT STEP IN THE FIGHT AGAINST MOSQUITOES?

Omar says IF WE REMOVE THOSE SPECIES FROM EARTH WOULD YOU EXPECT THERE TO BE AN ENVIRONMENTAL CONSEQUENCE? I DON'T THINK SO.

The Narrator says IN THIS HOUSING ESTATE IN THE EAST OF SINGAPORE, A SURGE IN THE NUMBER OF ADULT MOSQUITOES HAS BEEN DETECTED.

NG says WHEN THERE IS AN OUTBREAK, AND THERE ARE A LOT OF MOSQUITOS THEN SPACE SPRAY WITH INSECTICIDE CAN BE USEFUL.

The Narrator says SINGAPORE'S NATIONAL ENVIRONMENT AGENCY IS CHARGED WITH COMBATING THIS RISE.
LOADED WITH INSECTICIDE, TWENTY FUMIGATORS WILL SIMULTANEOUSLY SPRAY THE ESTATE'S HOUSING BLOCKS.
THEY AIM TO ENGULF CLUSTERS OF ADULT MOSQUITOES, LEAVING THEM WITH NOWHERE TO HIDE.
INSECTICIDE HAS LONG BEEN A KEY WEAPON IN THE GLOBAL FIGHT AGAINST DISEASE-BEARING MOSQUITOES.
OVER IN MIAMI, FLORIDA, THE MIAMI DADE COUNTY MOSQUITO CONTROL DEPARTMENT HAS FITTED POWERFUL INSECTICIDE SPRAYS ONTO A FLEET OF TRUCKS.

The caption changes to "Michael Mut. Miami-Dade County Mosquito Control." Michael is in his mid-forties, with short hair. He wears sunglasses, red face mask, white polo-shirt and blue jeans.

Michael stands by a van in the street.

He says THIS IS ONE OF OUR NEWER TRUCKS. IT'S A RAM, HEAVY DUTY TRUCK THAT'S OUTFITTED WITH A SPECIAL PIECE OF MACHINERY CALLED A BUFFALO TURBINE. AND WHAT IT DOES IS BASICALLY MIX WATER WITH A CHEMICAL KNOWN AS BTI, AND THAT IS SHOT UP IN THE AIR A 100 FEET. IT GETS OVER TREES AND VEGETATION AND IT GETS OVER PEOPLE'S ROOFS. AND IT HELPS US GET A VERY NICE EVEN SPREAD OF THIS BTI, WHICH AGAIN ACTS AS AN AGENT TO KILL MOSQUITO LARVAE.

The Narrator says BUT VETERAN MOSQUITO-BORNE DISEASE SCIENTIST DR DUANE GUBLER ARGUES THAT TODAY'S INSECTICIDES HAVE A LIMITED IMPACT ON MOSQUITOES.

Duane says THEY LAST FOR ONLY A FEW HOURS AND THEN THE TOXIC EFFECT IS GONE. AND SO, YOU HAVE TO SPRAY THEM IN THE AIR AND HOPE THAT THE AEROSOLS ACTUALLY CONTACT A MOSQUITO.
THE AEDES AEGYPTI, WHICH IS A VERY SECRETIVE MOSQUITO THAT LIKES TO REST INDOORS AND ESPECIALLY IN CLOSETS AND HIDDEN PLACES, THE INSECTICIDE THAT THEY SPRAY IN THE AIR OUTSIDE DOESN'T REACH THE MOSQUITO.
IT'S VERY INEFFECTIVE IN CONTROLLING MOSQUITOES AND THEREFORE INEFFECTIVE IN CONTROLLING DENGUE AND OTHER DISEASES.

The Narrator says IN THE PAST, AUTHORITIES AND CONSUMERS ALIKE HAD ACCESS TO A STRONG INSECTICIDE WITH A LASTING IMPACT.

In an old clip, a male narrator says IT BEGINS WITH THE WAR BORNE DEVELOPMENT OF DDT. THIS DIABOLICAL WEAPON OF MODERN SCIENCE SAVES MILLIONS OF HUMANS BUT KILL BILLIONS OF...

Duane says INSECTICIDE DDT THAT HAD A RESIDUAL IMPACT FOR SIX MONTHS. SO INSTEAD OF SPRAYING DDT IN THE AIR, THEY ACTUALLY SPRAYED IT ON THE WALLS OF THE HOUSES WHEN THE MOSQUITO AFTER IT FED, WENT AND LANDED ON THE WALL AND ITS CONTACT POISONED SO IT COULD KILL THEM.

The Narrator says BY THE MID-20TH CENTURY, DDT WAS BEING USED AROUND THE WORLD TO STOP MOSQUITOES FROM SPREADING MALARIA, DENGUE, AND YELLOW FEVER.
BUT IN 1972, IT WAS BANNED BY THE USA.

Duane says ONE OF THE PROBLEMS OF DDT IS IT'S NOT BIODEGRADABLE. SO, IF YOU'VE GOT AN INSECT THAT'S KILLED BY DDT AND BIRD COMES ALONG AND EATS THAT INSECTICIDE IT WAS CAUSING REAL PROBLEMS WITH THE REPRODUCTION OF A LOT OF BIRDS.

The Narrator says DDT ALSO FELL FROM FAVOUR, AS MOSQUITOES ADAPTED TO BECOME RESISTANT TO IT.

Duane says WHAT CAUSED ITS DOWNFALL, BECAUSE IT WAS USED SO MUCH IN SO MANY DIFFERENT AREAS, RESISTANCE STARTED TO DEVELOP. AND THAT RESISTANCE IS GENETIC AND CONTROLLED. SO ONCE A MOSQUITO BECOMES RESISTANT, ITS PROGENY IS RESISTANT. SO, YOU SELECT OUT A WHOLE POPULATION THAT ARE RESISTANT TO INSECTICIDE.

The Narrator says WITH LESSONS LEARNT FROM DDT, TODAY'S INSPECTORS ROTATE THE USE OF DIFFERENT INSECTICIDES TO PREVENT MOSQUITOES FROM BECOMING RESISTANT.
BUT SOME SPECIES HAVE ALREADY BECOME BATTLE-HARDENED.

A man sanitizes a garden.

William says IN PARTICULAR, AEDES AEGYPTI IS RESISTANT TO ALMOST ALL CONVENTIONAL INSECTICIDES. SO CLEARLY THERE HAS BEEN A REAL NEED FOR NEW FORMS OF CONTROL.

The Narrator says IN SINGAPORE, A NEW APPROACH TO MOSQUITO CONTROL IS BEING TESTED.
THE PROGRAMME AIMS TO USE AEDES MOSQUITOES TO DESTROY THEIR SPECIES FROM WITHIN.
THE NATIONAL ENVIRONMENT AGENCY PLANS TO INFECT MILLIONS OF AEDES AEGYPTI MOSQUITOES WITH A STRAIN OF BACTERIA CALLED WOLBACHIA.
THIS BACTERIUM INTERFERES WITH MOSQUITO BREEDING, THEREBY DECIMATING THE POPULATION.
PROJECT WOLBACHIA'S PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR IS DOCTOR NG LEE CHING.
SHE IS THE DIRECTOR OF THE ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH INSTITUTE.

NG says PROJECT WOLBACHIA IS BASICALLY RELEASING MOSQUITOES TO REDUCE THE NUMBER OF MOSQUITOES IN THE COMMUNITY.
WE RELEASE MALE AEDES AEGYPTI AND THEY CARRY WOLBACHIA BACTERIA IN THEM.
SO, WHEN THESE MALE MOSQUITOES ARE RELEASED, THEY WILL MATE WITH THE FEMALES IN THE FIELD.
SO THE EGGS THAT THE FEMALE LAY THEN DO NOT HATCH. SO, IF YOU CONSTANTLY REGULARLY RELEASE THE MALE WOLBACHIA YOU WILL SEE A REDUCTION IN THE MOSQUITO POPULATION IN THE FIELD.
IN AREAS WHERE WE HAVE A LOT OF HIGH AEDES AEGYPTI MOSQUITO POPULATION, WE HAVE SEEN UP TO A 90 percent SUPPRESSION OF THE MOSQUITO IN THE COMMUNITY.

The Narrator says SINGAPORE'S WOLBACHIA PROJECT NEEDS CAREFUL SUPERVISION.
RELEASING ONLY INFECTED MALES INTO THE WILD, MEANS THEY CAN'T REPRODUCE, AND THEY HAVE A LIMITED LIFE SPAN.
SO, SCIENTISTS AIM TO BREED FIVE MILLION INFECTED MOSQUITOES EVERY WEEK, TO SUSTAIN A STEADY SUPPLY OF INFECTED MALES.

Ooi says NEA WOULD KEEP HAVING TO RELEASE THE INFECTED MALES AND THEN KEEP RELEASING IT AND IN LARGE ENOUGH NUMBERS TO COMPETE WITH WILD TYPE, UNINFECTED MALES.
SO, THERE ARE THOSE THINGS THAT, YOU KNOW, ALTHOUGH IT IS THEORETICALLY EXCITING, BUT PRACTICALLY THAT THERE ARE STILL A LOT OF CHALLENGES.

The Narrator says UNLIKE SINGAPORE'S APPROACH, SCIENTISTS IN CALIFORNIA PLAN TO MAKE MOSQUITOES THAT REPRODUCE INDEFINITELY.
INSTEAD, THEY WILL CARRY A NEW GENETIC CODE THAT RENDERS THEM HARMLESS.

Omar walks into a chamber with several mosquito containers. He is in his thirties, with brown hair. He wears a green face mask and a protective robe.

Omar says WE GENETICALLY MODIFIED THE MOSQUITOS AND THEN WE DO GENETIC TESTING ON THEM.

The Narrator says DR OMAR AKBARI GENETICALLY ENGINEERED AEDES AEGYPTI MOSQUITOES, TO PRODUCE ANTIBODIES THAT NEUTRALISE THE DENGUE VIRUS.
INSTEAD OF TRANSMITTING DISEASE, THESE MOSQUITOES HELP ELIMINATE THE VIRUS.
ONCE THEY MATE IN THE WILD, THESE MOSQUITOES SHOULD PASS RESISTANCE TO DENGUE ON TO FUTURE GENERATIONS.

The caption changes to "Associate Professor Omar S. AkbarI. UC San Diego Biological Sciences."

Omar says WHEN YOU RELEASE THE MOSQUITOES WITH THE GENE DRIVE, THAT IT WOULD NATURALLY SPREAD ON ITS OWN, RIGHT? AND SO, WE THINK THAT WOULD BE A LOT MORE EFFICIENT THAN TRYING TO VACCINATE EVERY SINGLE PERSON IN AN AREA.
THE GOAL THERE IS TO EITHER DESIGN MOSQUITOES THAT CAN REPLACE THE POPULATION AND PERSIST OR SUPPRESS AND ELIMINATE THE POPULATION.

The Narrator says WHILE THIS REVOLUTIONARY APPROACH NEEDS FURTHER TESTING, MOST COUNTRIES CONTINUE TO RELY ON TRIED AND TESTED STRATEGIES.
NEAR THE THAI CITY OF UBON, VOLUNTEERS INSPECT VILLAGES FOR MOSQUITO LARVAE.

The caption changes to "Ubon, Thailand."

Wilawan says ARE YOU ALL READY?

Volunteers say YES!

The caption changes to "Wilawan Lakkhet. Pratum Health Promotion Hospital." Wilawan is in her forties, with short brown hair. She wears glasses, short black hair, face mask and lilac blouse.

Wilawan says THE VOLUNTEERS REPORT WHAT THEY FIND EACH WEEK TO THE DISTRICT OFFICE WHICH CONSOLIDATES THEIR FINDINGS AND HELPS TO CONTROL DENGUE FEVER IN EACH SUB-DISTRICT ALONG WITH THEIR LOCAL HOSPITAL.

Women check barrels with water outdoors.

Wilawan says IS THERE ANYTHING INSIDE? CAN YOU HELP THEM TO CHANGE THE WATER?

The caption changes to "Doctor Pitukpong Jandang. Public Health Office, Ubon." Pitukpong is in his early thirties, clean-shaven with black hair. He wears a white shirt under a black and gray vest.

Pitukpong says WE ARE LUCKY THAT WE HAVE A TEAM OF VOLUNTEERS TO HELP US MAINTAIN CONTROL OF DENGUE FEVER.
WE ALSO HAVE A PROGRAM WITH THE SCHOOLS TO EDUCATE CHILDREN BECAUSE THERE ARE COMMUNAL AREAS THROUGHOUT THE SCHOOLS.

(soft music plays)

The Narrator says WHILE THAILAND EDUCATES ITS POPULATION ON MOSQUITO CONTROL, SINGAPORE'S NATIONAL ENVIRONMENTAL AGENCY SEEKS TO EMPOWER ITS CITIZENS TO MONITOR DATA ON WHERE MOSQUITOES ARE BREEDING.
IT BEGINS WITH A NATIONWIDE MOSQUITO SURVEILLANCE PROGRAMME WITH THE USE OF MOSQUITO TRAPS.

NG says SO, IT'S A POT OF WATER THAT ATTRACT MOSQUITO AND A STICKY LINING. AND IT ATTRACTS FEMALE MOSQUITOES THAT ARE LOOKING FOR A PLACE TO LAY HER EGGS.
AND WHEN SHE COMES IN, SHE WILL GET TRAPPED. AND BY COLLECTING BY THIS NUMBER OF MOSQUITOS WE CAN TELL THE POPULATION IN THE FIELD, AT LEAST THE TRENDING, IS GOING UP OR DOWN, AND NOW WE HAVE SIXTY, MORE THAN SIXTY THOUSAND GRAVI TRAP, ALL OVER SINGAPORE.

The Narrator says THE AGENCY COLLECTS DATA FROM THOUSANDS OF MOSQUITO TRAPS, AND UPLOADS THE INFORMATION ONTO A MOBILE APP.

NG says IF YOU GO INTO MYENV APP, YOU CAN SEE WHERE ARE THE AREAS WITH HIGH MOSQUITO POPULATIONS, AND THAT SHOULD MOTIVATE PEOPLE TO SEARCH FOR BREEDING HABITATS TO PREVENT THE FORMATION OF DENGUE CLUSTERS IN YOUR REGION.

The Narrator says ARMED WITH TECHNOLOGY, INFORMATION AND EDUCATION, ORDINARY PEOPLE CAN TAKE A STAND AGAINST MOSQUITOES.

Duane says WITHOUT THE HELP OF THE PEOPLE WHO LIVE IN THE HOUSES IN THOSE CITIES WILL NEVER PROBABLY BE ABLE TO CONTROL THE MOSQUITO.

A cloud of mosquitoes appears.

The Narrator says SO, TO WIN THE GLOBAL WAR AGAINST INFECTIOUS DISEASES, WE MUST ALL BECOME DISEASE HUNTERS.

The end credits roll.

Producer and director, Shahul Hameed.

Series Producer, Chong Yew Meng.

Executive Producer, Mark Pestana.

Copyright 2020, MCN International Pte. Ltd. All rights reserved.

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