by Temesgen Abera / 703 Views
by Temesgen Abera / 179 Views
As the World Health Organization prepares to convene an emergency committee under international health regulations on Monday February 1, many are now wondering exactly where the Zika virus came from. Seemingly coming out of nowhere, Zika went from its first discovered case in 1947 and sporadic appearances up until last year, the virus is now in outbreak stage with WHO officials concerned that it may become a pandemic. World health researchers seem perplexed as to the genesis of the virus or at least, the sudden appearance and rapid spread of it in 2015.
Claire Bernish of The Anti-Media points out one possibility:
When examining a rapidly expanding potential pandemic, it’s necessary to leave no stone unturned so possible solutions, as well as future prevention, will be as effective as possible. In that vein, there was another significant development in 2015.
Oxitec first unveiled its large-scale, genetically-modified mosquito farm in Brazil in July 2012, with the goal of reducing “the incidence of dengue fever,” as The Disease Daily reported. Dengue fever is spread by the same Aedes mosquitoes which spread the Zika virus — and though they “cannot fly more than 400 meters,”WHO stated, “it may inadvertently be transported by humans from one place to another.” By July 2015, shortly after the GM mosquitoes were first released into the wild in Juazeiro, Brazil, Oxitec proudly announced they had“successfully controlled the Aedes aegypti mosquito that spreads dengue fever, chikungunya and zika virus, by reducing the target population by more than 90%.”
Though that might sound like an astounding success — and, arguably, it was — there is an alarming possibility to consider. Nature, as one Redditor keenly pointed out, finds a way — and the effort to control dengue, zika, and other viruses, appears to have backfired dramatically.
The mosquitoes that were released by Oxitec OX513A, were genetically engineered to need the presence of tetracycline in order to survive to maturity. Outside of the presence of tetracycline, they die. The idea behind the GM mosquitoes, was that they would be released into the wild and would mate with the natural female mosquitoes (only males were modified). The offspring that result are also supposed to die without the presence of tetracycline in their system. The GM mosquito program was introduced under the guise of controlling disease-carrying mosquito populations to reduce the amount of diseases in humans that were spread by mosquitoes. There is a massive problem with this program, however, most notably, the fact that the presence of tetracycline in the environment is not as rare as one might suspect. Particularly in a place like Brazil.
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Image: GM Mosquitoes With Possible Link To Zika Virus Awaiting Release In Florida (GR).
by Temesgen Abera / 1,968 Views