WHO Confirmed Genetically Modified Mosquitoes May Be Used To Fight Zika Virus

By Snow, Parent Herald February 19, 05:59 am

With the appalling health problems that Zika virus brings, the world is on the lookout as to what can combat this pestilence. As an answer, the World Health Organization, in its latest report said that fighting Zika may need to make use of genetically modified mosquitoes.

According to a report by Yahoo, what the WHO is proposing is to produce genetically modified mosquitoes that will overtake the population of the Aedes Aegypti species. These are the same mosquitoes responsible for spreading the Zika virus, along with other diseases like dengue.

The modified mosquitoes, which are incapable of spreading the virus, will then be released into the wild. And hopefully, it will outnumber other species, thereby preventing carriers from infecting people.

Science Alert reported that this creation of genetically modified mosquito might just be effective considering that Zika has already been declared as a global health emergency. While this is still being planned, there are also those who deem the action unethical as it has the capability to wipe out an entire mosquito species. When this happens, there is no way of knowing what its effect would be in the balance of nature.

In accordance with the WHO notes in its recently released Strategic Response Framework, "There are a range of vector control measures for the mosquitoes known to spread the Zika virus." It also said that, "Recent developments, such as progress in mosquitoes modified to carry Release of Insects with Dominant Lethality (RIDL) traits or the use of gene drives, [offer] opportunities for novel approaches."

Aside from the proposal to release genetically modified mosquitoes into the wild, another approach that they are thinking of is to infect the Aedes aegypti mosquitoes with the Wolbachia bacteria, which will prevent mosquito eggs from hatching. This is also among the things that the WHO is researching at current time.

Whether the WHO will opt for the production of genetically modified mosquitoes, or the infection of the Wolbachia bacteria into mosquitoes, is anyone's guess. One thing that's certain is that something must be done to stop the spread of the Zika virus without compromising the natural ecological balance of the living organisms on earth.

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