The Phaserl


As the Zika Virus Spreads, GM Mosquitoes Take Wing

by Julie Fidler, Natural Society:

For the average person, the Zika virus is no big deal. Most people never even have symptoms, and those that do have red eyes and feel like the flu. The infection usually clears up within a few days.

In rare cases, Zika can cause Guillain-Barre syndrome, a rare autoimmune disorder that can lead to life-threatening paralysis.

The virus is extremely dangerous for pregnant women, however; Zika has caused thousands of cases of microcephaly in newborns across Brazil. Women are even being told to delay conceiving until 2018 due to the virus.

The virus is in the United States now, though everyone who was been diagnosed here was infected while traveling abroad. But it’s still worrisome, as scientists say it’s only a matter of time until mosquitoes pick up the virus and start spreading it across the U.S.

World leaders are calling on researchers to develop a Zika virus vaccine, but that’s not likely to happen for at least a decade. [1]

To try and bring the spread of the virus under control, Oxitec, a subsidiary of the biotech company Intrexon, is working to create genetically modified mosquitoes – an endeavor the company has been involved with for some time.

Genetically Modified Mosquitoes to the Rescue?

The British firm breeds male mosquitoes that are released into the air and supposedly stop the spread of Zika by passing along a gene to their offspring that makes them die young.

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