US to Use Genetically Modified Mosquitoes to Fight Dengue Fever

H. Badr,  Asharq Al-Awsat,  2020.

After a decade of discussions, officials in Florida have voted to allow the first test in the United States of free-flying, genetically modified mosquitoes that kill any female offspring, as a way to fight the pests and the diseases they spread.

The decision came after about two hours of contentious testimony in a virtual public hearing on August 18. Many speakers railed against uncertainties in releasing genetically engineered organisms. In the end, though, worries about mosquito-borne diseases proved more compelling.

On the day of the vote, dengue fever cases in the Florida Keys islands totaled 47 so far in 2020, the first surge in almost a decade.

The same mosquitoes known for yellow fever (Aedes aegypti) also spread dengue as well as Zika and Chikungunya. The species is especially hard to control among about 45 kinds of mosquitoes that whine around the Keys.

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