Bioengineering students at UTEC propose natural pesticide to face dengue in Peru in international competition
Bioengineering students at UTEC propose natural pesticide to face dengue in Peru in international competition

For two years, Peru has been facing an alarming dengue outbreak, reaching unprecedented proportions. Dengue, a viral disease transmitted mainly by the mosquito Aedes aegypti, has become a serious threat to public health due to its high incidence rate and the number of associated deaths. This increase in cases is attributed to various factors, such as climate change and the incidence of natural phenomena such as Cyclone Yaku, Coastal Child and Global Child, conditions that encouraged the reproduction of these mosquitoes. Moreover, the political and preventive measures implemented did not have the expected results, leading to worrying levels of this situation.

In this context, and as part of its participation in the iGEM Design League 2023 competition, the AllyuGene team, made up of 19 students of the career of Bioengineering at the University of Engineering and Technology (UTEC), proposed the mass production of “Larvify”, a synthetic pesticide made from Cry and Cyt toxins produced by Bacillus thuringiensis as an alternative to combat Aedes aegypti larvae.  “This is a natural pesticide; highlighting that it has no negative effects on the environment and on the health of people. It is also an alternative to fumigations that can have a negative impact in these areas and that are a little uncomfortable to perform,” said Nelzy Merli Mendoza De La Cruz, a Bioengineering student at UTEC and team leader AllyuGene.

Thus, the equipment and its product responds to the sustainable development goal (SDG) number 13, climate action, because using biodegradable proteins combats dengue fever without damaging the environment.  In turn, it contributes to the prevention and control of this endemic disease, thus promoting the health and equitable and sustainable development of vulnerable communities (SDGs 3 and 11).  The team won the Silver Medal in the iGEM League 2023 competition; in addition, they were awarded special recognition for their collaboration with a team from the University of Puebla (Mexico)highlighting its commitment to international cooperation and promoting strategic partnerships for project development.

From our study house, we congratulate our students and recognize their effort to propose new ideas that contribute to the creation of a better future. We encourage them to continue researching and formulating new knowledge that will allow them to reinvent the world.

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