Genetically modified mosquitoes vs Zika?

Antigua Observer:- The Executive Director of the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA), Dr James Hospedales said the body supports the use of genetic modification to mosquitos to control their breeding.

The executive director said the potential use of genetically enhanced mosquitoes in the Caribbean is not only an “interesting” idea but, “promising” technology.

Antigua & Barbuda has been hesitant to utilize the technology, citing a general lack of information on how the modifications will affect the ecology of the nation, as one of the major reasons or the decision.

Dr Hospedales said the World Health Organisation and the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) have already ruled the technology as a safe means to control mosquito populations

Additional reports from CARPHA have also indicated that they have had request from countries for advice on the release of the genetically modified insects.

The body said with any new technology, it must be independently monitored and evaluated since what works in one area may not be as effective in other areas.

The body said each country is sovereign and must decide for themselves what direction to take on mosquito control.

The comments of the body come as the region celebrates Mosquito Awareness Week, which was launched on Monday.

The week is being celebrated under the theme “Fight the bite, destroy mosquito breeding sites”.

The efforts to promote the elimination of mosquito breeding sites and avoiding bites come as the threat of the Zika virus spreading intensifies with more countries recording cases.

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