Facebook post by University of Helsinki

Mosquitoes – we are all familiar with those nuisances. But did you know that mosquitoes can cause even greater harm than glowing swellings on your skin? In fact, they can act as a taxi service for different pathogens! The mosquito team of our Viral Zoonosis Research Group studies mosquito-borne viruses in mosquitoes, animals and humans. The team combines geographical, ecological, virological and entomological research. The team collects mosquito, animal and human patient samples from Kenya and Finland. They use the samples to study mosquito-borne viruses. The team also monitors Finnish mosquito species, which is important because new mosquito species could carry new pathogens to Finland. When collecting mosquitos, the best tool is a mosquito vacuum that looks like a hairdryer! The researchers use it to suck mosquitoes into collection cups basically like the Ghostbusters suck in ghosts in movies. In the lab, the team identifies collected mosquitoes to species or genus level. After that, they homogenize them to tiny bits. It sounds a bit gross, but it’s more or less like making a smoothie. But with mosquitoes. From that mosquito smoothie, the researchers isolate viral nucleic acids (RNA) that they use in their analyses. The aim of the mosquito team’s research is to generate new information about mosquito-borne virus disease risks in our changing climate. That new information can be used in decision making and risk assessment. Want to know more? Check out their website! 👇 https://www2.helsinki.fi/en/researchgroups/viral-zoonoses-research-unit