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Dengue-blocking mosquito released in Vietnam; bacteria could be key to fighting disease

Nguyen Thi Yen rolls up the sleeves of her white lab coat and delicately slips her arms into a box covered by a sheath of mesh netting. Immediately, the feeding frenzy begins.

Hundreds of mosquitoes light on her thin forearms and swarm her manicured fingers. They spit, bite and suck until becoming drunk with blood, their bulging bellies glowing red. Yen laughs in delight while her so-called “pets” enjoy their lunch and prepare to mate.

The petite, grandmotherly entomologist — nicknamed Dr. Dracula — knows how crazy she must look to outsiders. But this is science, and these are very special bloodsuckers.

She smiles and nods at her red-hot arms, swollen and itchy after 10 minutes of feeding. She knows those nasty bites could reveal a way to greatly reduce one of the world’s most menacing infectious diseases.
 
 

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