Fighting Dengue Fever With Genetically Modified Mosquitoes

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).

From Oxitec’s Dengue Information Center:

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 FeverSingapore Government’s Campaign Against Dengue FeverWorld Health Organization Dengue Fact SheetSingapore‚Äôs Health Care SystemExtremely Bad Haze in Johor Bahru and SingaporeVideo showing malaria breaking into cellEngineering Mosquitoes to be Flying Vaccinators (2010)

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