>> Chinese scientists, taking the fight against Zika to its creepy crawly source. The virus has been linked to brain and birth defects across South America. Now, a key breakthrough could be on the horizon.>> I'm Stefanie McIntyre for Reuters at the world's largest mosquito factory in southern China, where scientist breed millions of mosquitos every week to try to stop the spread of disease.
>> Researchers are counting on a microscopic weapon. A benign bacteria called Wolbachia, which can block the transmission of viruses like Zika. Mosquito eggs are injected with it, then infected males are released into the wild to multiply. As pioneer Professor explains, it's a two pronged attack.>> If a mail mosquito carries Wolbachia and mates with a female, the female becomes sterile, eliminating the next generation of dangerous mosquitoes.
At the same time, if the female carries Wolbachia, viruses like Zika, dengue and yellow fever are suppressed inside her body. One and a half million mosquitoes are released from the lab here every week. Gee says that's cut the mosquito population on this 3 kilometer island by more than 90%.
One villager I spoke to saying it's been so effective, he no longer sleeps with a net. Scientists around the world are now eyeing this technology as they struggle to contain Zika. That include Brazil, where the current outbreak was first detected. This discovery may have come too late for several top athletes who have refused to travel to the Rio Olympics for fear of infection.
But it may yet bring hope to millions across the Americas where the virus continues to spread.