Health ministry eyes GM mosquitoes to combat dengue and chikv


Health officials here are not ruling out the use of genetically modified mosquitoes to help combat the spread of chickungunya and dengue.

The US-based Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is considering releasing batches of genetically modified mosquitoes to combat the spread of Dengue fever, and health officials in Brazil have already released millions of the insects into their environment.

On Thursday, Chief Medical Officer Rhonda Sealy-Thomas told OBSERVER AM that the Ministry of Health was playing close attention to these developments.

“One of the things that is crucial to controlling diseases like Dengue and Chikungunya is mosquito population control, because these viruses are transmitted by the Aedes Egypti and other mosquitoes; so yes, anything would control the mosquito population we would consider.”
The plan works by releasing only male mosquitoes into the wild. They then mate with the female and pass on a defective gene to her offspring, making them non-viable and the insects die before reaching adulthood.”

Sealy-Thomas added that the Ministry of Health is looking forward to hearing the FDA’s findings on the genetically modified mosquitoes. It also plans to partner with entomologists at health agencies like PAHO and CARPHA.

(More in today’s Daily Observer)