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It looks like a takeout container, but it might be our best bet to fight Zika.

An innovative approach to battling Zika you should know about.

It looks like a takeout container, but it might be our best bet to fight Zika.

Soon, the solution to Zika could arrive in something as simple as a takeout box.

Image from Recode/YouTube.


For the past several years, researchers in Australia have been at work trying to develop a way to put a stop to dengue, a virus that — like Zika — is spread by way of a certain breed of mosquitoes.

The result is what's called a Mozzie Box, and Susan Desmond-Hellmann, CEO of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, recently demonstrated how it works.

The Mozzie Box works by intentionally breeding disease carrying mosquitos, with a twist.

In the Mozzie Box, Aedes mosquitoes — the same kind that transmit diseases like Zika, dengue, yellow fever, chikungunya, and more — are bred.

And how exactly is breeding more mosquitoes the solution to a mosquito-borne illness?

The Mozzie Box mosquito eggs contain a bacteria called Wolbachia, which renders the grown mosquitoes essentially harmless (minus a few itchy bites here and there).

In other words:


GIFs from Recode/YouTube.

When the Mozzie Box mosquitoes fly off into the wild and begin mating, the Wolbachia bacteria is transmitted to their offspring.

That bacteria will then be passed down to future generations.

As time goes on, fewer mosquitoes will have the capability to carry Zika (or those other diseases), and the virus will become much less of an issue.


There are times when science can be so freaking cool, and this is definitely one of them.

The key to stopping Zika might lie in mosquito STDs. How cool is that?

But why is it so important to take steps like these? For one:

The 2016 Summer Olympics are scheduled to take place in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, one of the areas hit hardest by Zika.

A number of athletes, such as Spanish basketball star Pau Gasol, have expressed concern over the virus and are considering skipping the games.

Despite the worry, the World Health Organization has advised against cancelling or moving the Olympics, writing, "Based on the current assessment of Zika virus circulating in almost 60 countries globally and 39 countries in the Americas, there is no public health justification for postponing or cancelling the games."

Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images.

So even though the Olympics may go on as planned, that doesn't make the virus any less worrisome for the world as a whole.

The virus has been connected with birth defects in children and possible neurological problems in adults.

The most common concern is that mothers who contract Zika may give birth to babies with microcephaly, a condition where a baby is born with a much smaller head than expected.

A mother holds a 3-month-old girl with microcephaly. Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images.

Help from governments sometimes seems out of reach, making finding a solution in the private sector that much more important.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention director Dr. Tom Frieden delivered an emotional call to the U.S. Congress, pleading for them to take the threat of Zika seriously.

"Imagine that you’re standing by and you see someone drowning, and you have the ability to stop them from drowning, but you can’t," Frieden said. "Now multiply that by 1,000 or 100,000. That’s what it feels like to know how to change the course of an epidemic and not be able to do it."

Frieden speaks about the Zika crisis on May 26, 2016, in Washington, D.C. Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images.

Maybe Mozzie Boxes will help bring an end to Zika and other dangerous diseases. Maybe they'll inspire others to take up important innovative work. Maybe they'll help make the world a better place, now and for future generations.

There's already been so much progress in how we treat, prevent, and test for dangerous diseases. Here's hoping that such innovation continues.

You can watch Susan Desmond-Hellmann's Mozzie Box demonstration below:

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If the past year has taught us nothing else, it's that sending love out into the world through selfless acts of kindness can have a positive ripple effect on people and communities. People all over the United States seemed to have gotten the message — 71% of those surveyed by the World Giving Index helped a stranger in need in 2020. A nonprofit survey found 90% helped others by running errands, calling, texting and sending care packages. Many people needed a boost last year in one way or another and obliging good neighbors heeded the call over and over again — and continue to make a positive impact through their actions in this new year.

Upworthy and P&G Good Everyday wanted to help keep kindness going strong, so they partnered up to create the Lead with Love Fund. The fund awards do-gooders in communities around the country with grants to help them continue on with their unique missions. Hundreds of nominations came pouring in and five winners were selected based on three criteria: the impact of action, uniqueness, and "Upworthy-ness" of their story.

Here's a look at the five winners:

Edith Ornelas, co-creator of Mariposas Collective in Memphis, Tenn.

Edith Ornelas has a deep-rooted connection to the asylum-seeking immigrant families she brings food and supplies to families in Memphis, Tenn. She was born in Jalisco, Mexico, and immigrated to the United States when she was 7 years old with her parents and sister. Edith grew up in Chicago, then moved to Memphis in 2016, where she quickly realized how few community programs existed for immigrants. Two years later, she helped create Mariposas Collective, which initially aimed to help families who had just been released from detention centers and were seeking asylum. The collective started out small but has since grown to approximately 400 volunteers.