A team of Brazilian scientists will be releasing factory-bred mosquitos so as to try and put a stop to the diseases spread by their natural kin.
The principle behind the principle is quite simple. The factory-bred mosquitos will help control the number of such disease carrying flyers and will lead to their decrease by breeding with the female specimens.
Although the idea of releasing millions more in order to decrease the number of mosquitos might seem quite nonsensical, the factory-bred mosquitos are engineered to carry out their mission and then die themselves.
The genetically engineered insects are the idea and production of Oxitec, a British firm whose factory and main release market is the Brazilian town of Piracicaba.
The factory which according to Hadyn Parry, the Oxitec president, is both the first and biggest of its kind, is capable of producing about 60 million genetically modified mosquitos per week.
The factory-bred mosquitos are set to be released amongst their natural peers which could also include the Aedes aegypti. This latter flyer has garnered quite an infamous reputation as it is the carrier of such diseases as the yellow fever, dengue, the Zika virus, and chikungunya.
The mutant mosquitos will be genetically engineered to possess a flaw, which will be transmitted to the babies resulted from their mating with the common species. This modification will account for their quick death, as both the father mosquitos and its offspring will suffer from this flaw.
The efficiency of such methods was already tested, according to Oxitec, in between 2011 and 2015 as the factory-bred mosquitos were released in a number of territories.
According to the same studies, the local population numbers of Aedes aegypti marked a 90 percent drop after the release of the genetically modified insects.
Still, there are some who contest the five field tests as no epidemiological studies and statistics have been carried out after the aforementioned tests so as to show their statistical efficiency in eliminating the problem. The Anvisa Brazilian health authorities also have yet to release a sales permit for Oxitec.
But the firm and the city of Piracicaba mean to carry out their joint plan as a first wave of 10 million factory-bred mosquitos per week will be released into the area.
As Oxitec expects to receive its official health approval sometime in 2017, the need for disease-carrying mosquito prevention will probably only increase.
With summer approaching in the southern hemisphere, the numbers of such flyers are likely to boom, and disease cases with them.
As the Aedes aegypti has already adapted to the city environment, these fabric-breed mosquitos could potentially put a stop to the spreading of their former mentioned relatives, and mark a lowering in their numbers.
With the situation about to get dire, the Rio de Janeiro officials will also be using a similar technique as it will be releasing Wolbachia bacteria inoculated insects, which should make them immune or resistant to most common disease the likes of Zika.
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