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Can GM Mosquitoes Stop the Zika Virus?

Can GM Mosquitoes Stop the Zika Virus?

As fears over the Zika virus mount, a biotech company believes they have found the solution to stopping the worrisome disease: genetically modified mosquitoes.

The virus, which is believed to cause birth defects in babies born from mothers with the ailment, has run rampant in Brazil and begun being spread to other parts of the world.

With no vaccine yet to be developed, health officials have grown increasingly concerned over the mosquito-borne virus' potential damage.

However, biotech company Oxitec have developed an innovative idea to stop the spread of the Zika virus via a genetically modified mosquito which possesses a gene that causes its offspring to die rather than reproduce.

They hope that by releasing these GM insects into the wild, they will integrate with the native populations of Zika-carrying mosquitoes and eliminate the spread of the disease.

The company claims that trials of the modified mosquitoes have resulted in a stunning 90 percent reduction of the insect's population.

In light of that success, Oxitec will soon be creating a 'mosquito factory' in Brazil in order to facilitate faster production of the Zika-killing insects.

Let's just hope that the GM mosquitoes can help curb the spread of Zika without spawning an even worse scenario created by genetic tinkering or wiping out an entire species of insect.

Source: Yahoo News

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