Brazil to breed GM mosquitoes

2012-07-10 09:29

Brasilia - Brazil said it will breed huge numbers of genetically modified mosquitoes to help stop the spread of dengue fever, an illness that has already struck nearly 500 000 people this year nationwide.

Dengue affects between 50 and 100 million people in the tropics and subtropics each year, causing fever, muscle and joint ache as well as potentially fatal dengue hemorrhagic fever and dengue shock syndrome.

The disease is caused by four strains of virus that are spread by the mosquito Aedes aegypti. There is no vaccine, which is why scientists are focusing so intensely on mosquito control.

The initiative in Brazil will produce large quantities of genetically modified male Aedes aegypti mosquitoes, which will be released into nature to mate with females, the health ministry said.

"Their offspring will not reach adulthood, which should reduce the population," it said in a statement.

The new mosquitoes will be produced in a factory inaugurated on Saturday in the north-eastern Brazilian state of Bahia. Four million insects will be churned out per week.

The experiment has already been attempted in two mosquito-infested towns in Bahia, each with about 3 000 inhabitants.

"Using this technique, we reduced the mosquito population by 90% in six months," the ministry said.

This YouTube video shows that scientists in Singapore have found a possible antibody for dengue fever:

  • tercia.treurnicht - 2012-07-10 10:48

    It's great is genetic modification is used to fight desease, but please leave it out of our food...

      louis.pienaar1 - 2012-07-10 13:36

      Please explain why we should leave it out of our food?

  • jeanpierre.bornman.9 - 2012-07-10 11:39

    Ok i know this is going to sound bad but once you cure one evil a bigger badder one takes its place, like TB we made meds to combat it and a more resistant strain popped up and now we are messing with mother nature again, whats to stop another africanised honey be situation happening again

      LanfearM - 2012-07-10 14:51

      So what should we do? Just leave the diseases alone, as they are, to maim and kill and do nothing to try and cure/stop them? We are part of nature, so "messing with mother nature" is actually quite natural.

      nuveshen.naidoo - 2012-07-10 14:58

      The resistant TB strains are not more pathogenic, they're just more resistant to antibiotics.

  • faizieishlah.shabalala - 2012-07-10 11:42

    If only we could do this with SA Males, the human kind

      diaan.robbertse - 2012-07-11 11:26

      Faizieish I Think thats a great idea ,wonder how long it will take to get our society to get rid of the showerheads,Malenemas,yengeni's ect of our society this way. at least your proposal is the most humane way of getting rid of those thingies in our society

  • raath - 2012-07-10 11:55

    Brazilians doing genetic modification on mosquitoes. Could be just the ingredients you would need for a B-grade horror movie

      avrilandandre - 2012-07-10 21:05

      We can see you have never even been to Brazil...twat!

      raath - 2012-07-11 07:45

      That was a joke, moron.

  • petrus.rademan - 2012-07-10 12:30

    Interesting thought: Using genetically modified mosquitoes to distribute vaccines, the possibilities are endless.

      petrus.rademan - 2012-07-10 17:38

      The saliva is actually the culprit; the Mosquitoes saliva mainly acts as an “anti-clogging agent” witch might contain the malaria parasite

      Brilliant Sibisi - 2012-07-10 21:42

      It aint a vaccine boet, but a way of reducing the population of the original form of that particular type of mosquito

  • Brilliant Sibisi - 2012-07-10 22:08

    Hope this new breed won't become a problem in future!

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