PharmaVOICE Blog Post

Genetically-modified mosquitoes become a weapon against Zika

Posted By: Dan Limbach
March 15, 2016

Nobody likes mosquitoes. They can ruin an otherwise pleasant summer day. However, mosquitoes present even greater harm when they spread disease. By their nature, they are one of the most perfect disease-spreaders in the world. They carry blood-borne diseases, such a Malaria and Zika. They can travel across continents as stowaways. They reproduce in great quantities. They are nearly impossible to eliminate without harmful consequences, such as powerful chemicals introduced into the environment.

A new, genetically modified male mosquito prevents offspring from living to adulthood and reproducing. Introduce enough of them into a region, and pretty soon the population diminishes by more than 90%, with no significant environmental damage (as determined by the FDA after a recent investigational trial). This is a good example of attacking the source, not the disease. There are detractors, however, who feel this tactic could present a biodiversity issue.

The technique may be used in Florida to prevent the spread of Zika. If it also improves the quality of our camp outs, hikes, picnics, and night-time games of “Ghost in the Graveyard,” it could be a big win for everybody except pesticide manufacturers and pest control companies.

Read the full Scientific American article.

About the Blog Poster: Dan Limbach

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