Zika virus fear remains in play though it has lost a great deal of steam. Yesterday, a new single case was found in Kansas, which meant headline news. One individual with Zika really shouldn’t be a top news story or a news story at all, but welcome to the age of fear mongering for profit.
The situation has now taken an even more dangerous turn as the FDA has approved the release of GMO mosquitoes. According to DW.com, the mosquitoes, created by a GMO lab company named Oxitech, are intended to breed with Zika producing mosquitoes for the sake of thinning the herds.
The altered insects are unlikely to harm humans, animals or the environment, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) said in their preliminary report on Friday.ADVERTISEMENT
“FDA found that the probability that the release of OX513A male mosquitoes would result in toxic or allergenic effects in humans or other animals is negligible,” the authority said.
The “OX513A” variants were designed by British biotech company Oxitec to combat the spread of mosquito-borne infections, including Zika, dengue, chikungunya and West Nile. Oxitec genetically alters the Aedes aegypti mosquito strain with synthetic DNA, shortening their life span and causing the offspring to die before reaching maturity.
Representatives from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Environmental Protection Agency also have reviewed the proposal along with the FDA.
The Zika virus mayhem is less than even a year in age, yet, the FDA can clearly state that humans “most likely” won’t get sick from them? That’s a rather dangerous roll of the dice. You can’t just go back and terminate the mission after the mosquitoes are already introduced to the environment. But not to worry, the WHO is also on board.
WHO backs testing
Oxitec intends to release a number of the insects in the Florida Keys for a field test, following similar probes in Brazil, Panama, and the Cayman Islands. The goal of the experiment is to have genetically modified males mate with wild females and thus reduce the mosquito population.
The OX513A mosquitoes have proven to be effective during previous tests. Also, the World Health Organization (WHO)came out in favor of the trialsin February, saying that the controversial method might be necessary to wipe out the Zika-carrying insects.
“Time is not on our side here, if you look at how Zika has been spreading in Brazil and other countries,” Oxitec CEO Haydn Parry told reporters on Friday. “The sooner we can start the trial, the sooner we show what we can do.”
The FDA is also saying they’ve found “no evidence” that these mosquitoes will move beyond the trial zones. Where was the original testing accomplished to learn such a thing? It would seem to me that they’d had to have already released them into our environment somewhere. The process remains a couple of months away due to the FDA having to get approval from stakeholders (this seems like an amazing investment, really!).
The Florida Keys Environmental Coalition has issued statements opposing the release of the GMO mosquitoes, claiming that Oxitech isn’t likely to properly oversee the situation. Anti-GMO activists are also vehemently opposed to this experiment.