Mosquito-borne diseases (MBDs) affect mostly tropical countries, but globalization and climate changes are increasing the risk of transmission in Europe, where the native Culex pipiens (vector of endemic West-Nile virus) is widespread and invasive species (i.e. Aedes vectors of exotic arboviruses such as Dengue) are increasing. Moreover, high mosquito densities represent a major nuisance affecting people's wellbeing.
In the absence of therapeutic treatments and vaccines for most MBDs, vector control is the only effective strategy to prevent transmission. ‘Precision mosquito control’ (i.e. interventions targeted on areas/periods of highest mosquito abundance) implies a good knowledge of species bionomics and the capacity to assess and predict their spatial and temporal fluctuations. The feasibility of such an approach is hampered by financial and technical constraints of large-scale entomological monitoring and surveillance activities instrumental to feed ‘precision mosquito control’ plans. Community engagement through Citizen Science (CS) initiatives and availability of accessible resources to obtain detailed information on local vector populations are today considered potentially key components of affordable advanced mosquito management.
MosqIT project brings together the skills of 4 high-qualified research Units with a long-standing experience in mosquito basic and applied research to collaborate towards the achievement of 4 major objectives with high scientific and translational value to reduce the risk of MBDs in Italy:
1- ENHANCING RESOURCES FOR MOSQUITO RESEARCH by creating a BioBank of mosquito samples and data for retrospective and prospective studies.
2- ENHANCING THE CURRENT KNOWLEDGE ON MOSQUITOES IN ITALY by exploiting photographic records and data on human-mosquito contacts using the MosquitoAlert app for mobile phones, a novel infrastructure available in Italy since October 2020 which will be advertised within MosqIT dissemination activities.
3- ENHANCING RESOURCES FOR MOSQUITO SURVEILLANCE AND CONTROL by developing user-friendly and accessible tools to easily analyse real time MosquitoAlert and MosqIT BioBank data. These tools will be released open-source to favour ‘precision mosquito control’ implementation.
4- PROVIDING NEW CONCEPTS FOR ENVIRONMENTAL-FRIENDLY MOSQUITO CONTROL, with specific reference to “smart” eco-friendly biolarvicides that combine ‘attracting’ and ‘entomopathogenic’ properties of mosquito mycobiota.

Prot. 2020XYBN88
PRIN 2020
€ 207.105
€ 169.810