GMO mosquitoes to eradicate malaria

(Ecofin Agency) – In the USA, experiments are underway in the state of Florida, to test genetically modified mosquitoes in the fight against infectious diseases such as Dengue, Zika, or yellow fever, in a potential alternative to insecticides .

Indeed, the southern state of the country, with a tropical climate, is working to release nearly 150,000 mosquitoes into nature. Aedes aegypti, vectors of many viruses, but genetically modified.

According to the British company Oxitec who is developing the project, these GMO insects, all males, will mate with females, to give offspring whose females will be non-viable, thus neutralizing the reproduction and propagation of these vector agents. The first males should emerge during the first two weeks of this May.

This American experiment follows on from field trials carried out in other tropical countries: Brazil, Panama, the Cayman Islands and Malaysia. By way of illustration, in the test city in Brazil, the mosquito population Aedes aegypti had been reduced by 80%.

If this path perhaps opens the way to new tools in the fight against diseases transmitted by mosquitoes, like malaria, endemic in Africa, the “GMO” option does not fail to create resistance. Thus, since the announcement of the project in Florida, a group of residents of the experimental area have opposed the dissemination of what they call “mutant mosquitoes”.

Ayi Renaud Dossavi

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