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Releasing millions of GM mosquitoes ‘could solve zika crisis’

OWON: Now we just need to give them a taste for Zios and Muzzies.

Releasing millions of GM mosquitoes ‘could solve zika crisis’

Releasing GM mosquitoes in Brazil has seen populations of infectious insects fall by 90 per cent

The Telegraph
By Sarah Knapton
6 February 2016

Millions of genetically modified mosquitoes should be released into countries affected by zika to bring the current crisis under control, scientists have claimed.

Thousands of babies have been born with shrunken heads after their mothers were bitten by zika infected mosquitoes in Latin America.

The World Health Organisation has now declared the outbreak to be a global public health emergency and asked for help from countries around the world in defeating the virus.

But scientists at British biotech company Oxitec, a spin off from Oxford University, believe the virus could be brought under control in just a few months if millions of genetically modified mosquitoes were released into the wild.

Trials in Brazil have already shown that the GM insects can causes populations of the dangerous aedes aegypti mosquito to drop by 90 per cent, and causes of dengue to fall by 99 per cent.

In the next few weeks, the Brazilian Health Ministry is expected to give the green light for Oxitec to begin supplying the insects across the country. The WHO is also broadly in favour of the new technology.

Hadyn Parry, Chief Executive of Oxitec, said: “I think a role out of GM mosquitoes could stop this very quickly indeed.

“We’re expecting to get the go ahead very soon and then this could make a real difference.”

The mosquitoes are genetically engineered to have a ‘kill switch’ gene which is passed to offspring and prevents them reaching maturity. A second genetic alteration causes the pupae to glow in the dark so that scientists can keep track.

They were initially released into the town of Piracicaba, near Sao Paolo which has a population of around 3,000 people.

Secretary of Health in Piracicaba, Pedro Mello, said the trial had been a success and they were planning to expand the release in the region and investing in its own GM mosquito factory.

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  1. Typical sloppy reporting by Murdoch press, to wit:

    "Thousands of babies have been born with shrunken heads after their mothers were bitten by zika infected mosquitoes in Latin America."

    There is no established link between the two. Other factors, such as pollution, are also in the ring as possible contributors. How would anyone know if someone has been bitten by a Zika mozzie? For one, Zika is a form of dengue, just one of about 4 major and common types.

    Fact Check result: fail

    Real agenda I suspect is to panic everyone into buying rushed vaccines, that have had no time to be adequately tested and will lead to deaths/morbidity in line with the population reduction agenda. So zika affects mainly poor folk in favelas? Oh really? No coincidence here. Move along please.

  2. Ludicrous report! Zika virus has been around for 69 years and is owned by a UK company and a US company! Why are they trying to kill Brazil's babies?

    No shrunken brains before! However, one might ask why any company would develop for sale a terrible virus? If there are any shrunken brains in babies in Brazil, it most likely has much more to do with a new Tdap vaccine being tested there!


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