With the ongoing Dengue fever outbreak in Singapore I wonder if they are thinking of experimenting with this option. The video was created by the Wellcome Trust (a UK based non-profit medical research organization) on this effort to fight the Dengue virus.
Oxitec is experimenting with genetically modified male mosquitoes that are infertile. So when they mate no offspring are born. They are able to target the specific mosquitoes that carry dengue (because those mosquitoes are genetically distinct from other mosquitoes).
Dengue fever is the fastest growing mosquito-borne disease, affecting over 50 million people each year across the world, and continuing to grow both in prevalence and severity.
There are around 25,000 fatalities each year and severe cases require hospitalisation and constant monitoring. Dengue is an extremely expensive disease, estimated to cost the global economy over US$5 billion per year.
Dengue is caused by four different, but related, viruses (known as DENV-1,2,3 and 4). Once infected, a person can develop a lifelong immunity to that strain of the virus but can become more susceptible to the other three strains.
Related: One Scientists 20 Year Effort to Defeat Dengue Fever – Singapore Government’s Campaign Against Dengue Fever – World Health Organization Dengue Fact Sheet – Singapore’s Health Care System – Extremely Bad Haze in Johor Bahru and Singapore – Video showing malaria breaking into cell – Engineering Mosquitoes to be Flying Vaccinators (2010)