* * *
On July 14, Google’s bio-lab began releasing the first batches of the 20 million bacteria-filled mosquitoes they plan to set free in the heart of California in an effort to shrink the population of mosquitoes that can carry life-threatening diseases. The project, called Debug Fresno, is an initiative led by Verily Life Sciences, an offshoot of Google’s parent company Alphabet, in collaboration with MosquitoMate and Fresno County’s Consolidated Mosquito Abatement District.
According to the scientists, the goal of the project is to cut the population of Aedes aegypti mosquitoes — which are known for spreading Zika, dengue, and chikungunya. Over the course of 20 weeks, the company will release 1 million sterile, non-biting male mosquitoes in two 300-acre neighborhoods in Fresno County every week.
We’ve all heard of the Zika virus. What you probably haven’t heard of is British biotechnology company Oxitec, purchased last year by billionaire Randal Kirk. A company that has released A. aegypti killing GMO mosquitos in at least Brazil, Malaysia, Panama and the Grand Cayman islands. The company also planned a release in the Florida Keys, but has thus far been stopped by a group of determined activists.
Bloomberg covered the story in a fascinating article published earlier today titled, Florida’s Feud Over Zika-Fighting GMO Mosquitoes.
What follows are excerpts from that piece:
(NATURALSOCIETY) Genetically modified mosquitoes designed to limit the spread of the Zika virus will likely soon be unleashed in the southern United States, as the federal government said today it decided to permit a field test in the Florida Keys.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) said it had made a preliminary determination that the GM mosquitoes are unlikely to harm humans, animals, or the environment.
Genetically engineering the human race, turning it into obedient slaves and reducing the population by at least 90%.
… and not only towards the third world.
The World Health Organization announced it will convene an Emergency Committee under International Health Regulations on Monday, February 1, concerning the Zika virus ‘explosive’ spread throughout the Americas. The virus reportedly has the potential to reach pandemic proportions — possibly around the globe. But understandingwhy this outbreak happened is vital to curbing it. As the WHO statement said:
“A causal relationship between Zika virus infection and birth malformations and neurological syndromes … is strongly suspected. [These links] have rapidly changed the risk profile of Zika, from a mild threat to one of alarming proportions.
– GeneWatch Warns of Superbug Danger from GMO Insect Factories (Sustainable Pulse, Feb 4, 2015):
In a new report published today, GeneWatch UK publishes evidence that genetically modified (GM) insect factories could spread antibiotic resistant bacteria into the environment, posing a risk to human health (1). Antibiotic resistance is recognised to be a major problem for human and animal health as it makes treatments for many bacterial infections ineffective. Bacteria that are resistant to multiple antibiotics are sometimes known as “superbugs”.
Find the Full Report here: www.genewatch.org
UK company Oxitec has developed GM mosquitoes and agricultural pests which are bred using the common antibiotic tetracycline in their feed. The report explores concerns that mass-breeding and repeated large-scale open releases of such GM insects could spread antibiotic resistance into the environment, potentially creating more superbugs.
– Yellow fever mosquitoes spread fear of deadly viruses in Los Angeles (RT, Oct 15, 2014):
Ebola may not be the only cause of fear to arrive in the US recently. Yellow fever mosquitoes ‒ which can transmit dengue, chikungunya and yellow fever itself ‒ have been found in the Los Angeles region, officials announced Wednesday.
These mosquitoes can spread the three deadly tropical viruses to humans through their bites. They were found Oct. 7 and 8 in Commerce and Pico Rivera, respectively, according to the Greater Los Angeles County Vector Control District (GLACVCD) and San Gabriel Valley Mosquito & Vector Control District (SGVMVCD).
– Dengue fever outbreak spreads in Japan – just in time for GM mosquitoes and experimental vaccines (Natural News, Sep 15, 2014):
Dozens of people in Japan have contracted a potentially deadly illness that hasn’t been seen in the country for nearly 70 years. Reports indicate that visitors to Yoyogi Park, one of Tokyo’s most popular leisure spots, have been falling ill with dengue fever, a mosquito-transmitted illness that mostly occurs in the more tropical regions of Southeast Asia but now appears to be on the move.
Local officials closed the park after some 55 people, according to USA Today, fell ill with the disease, which can lead to severe fever, joint pain and chronic headaches. In more extreme cases, dengue can cause persistent bleeding that, in a worst-case scenario, results in death.
What could possibly go wrong?
– Brazil Announces Dengue Fever Emergency in GM Mosquito Trials Region (Sustainable Pulse, July 8, 2014):
Civil society groups today expressed alarm at an increase in dengue incidence, leading to an emergency decree, in a town in Brazil where releases of genetically modified (GM) mosquitoes are taking place.
The promise was to create genetically modified mosquitoes that would end dengue, but results from field trials conducted in Bahia, Brazil have not been published to date and did not evaluate the relation between Aedes aegypti mosquito populations and the occurrence of dengue . Nevertheless, the Brazilian regulator Comissão Técnica Nacional de Biossegurança (CTNBio) recently gave the green light to the commercialization of the technology proposed by Moscamed Brazil in partnership with the English company Oxitec and the Universidade de São Paulo.
The Brazilian press had welcomed the new weapon to combat dengue but missed the information that Jacobina’s mayor, a locality where the trials took place, issued a decree in February 2014 renewing the state of emergency “due to the abnormal situation characterized as a biological disaster of dengue epidemic.” . Before that, Moscamed had announced 81% and 100% reduction in the number of Aedes aegypti mosquitoes in at least two localities of Jacobina, claiming that this meant the experiments were a success . According to Oxitec, pilot-scale releases started in the north-west of Jacobina in June 2013 and the programme will roll out across the entire city over two or three years .
– Panama Public Warned over GM Mosquito Experiments (Sustainable Pulse, Jan 29, 2014):
GeneWatch UK today warned that open releases of millions of GM mosquitoes produced by UK company Oxitec should not take place in Panama until members of the public have been fully informed about the risks.
GeneWatch also released a draft risk assessment provided by Oxitec to the US Department of Agriculture in 2011, which has not previously been published, showing that the company itself admits some of these risks (1). These include the risks that more invasive Asian Tiger (Aedes albopictus) mosquitoes move into the area, and that the number of cases of potentially fatal Dengue Haemorraghic Fever (DHF) could possibly increase.
The experiments in Panama are due to start on 15th February in Nuevo Chorillo, in the Arraiján district of Panama. The experiments have been approved by the Ministry of Health but no information about the possible downsides of the experiments has been provided to members of the public.
– Mosquito That Carries Yellow Fever, Dengue Spotted In California (Medical Daily, Oct 19, 2013):
Aedes aegypti, the species of mosquito that transmits deadly tropical diseases including yellow fever and the dengue virus, has made its way through California’s Central Valley to the Bay Area this year.
The aggressive mosquito, which is dark with white markings banding its legs, was first spotted in Madera and Clovis in June, followed by Fresno and the Bay Area city of San Mateo in August, according to the Sacramento Bee. Unlike other mosquitoes, the Aedes aegypti prefers biting people rather than animals and bites at all hours of the day, not just at night. Controlling the spread of these mosquitoes is difficult since they need as little as a teaspoon of water to lay their eggs, meaning they could easily breed in anyone’s yard.
Fortunately, none of the mosquitoes trapped by vector control groups have been shown to carry any diseases. The possibility for disease transmission still exists, albeit a small one, as cases of dengue and yellow fever are incredibly rare in the state. To infect a person with these diseases, the Aedes aegypti mosquito must bite an infected person first.
Hundreds of thousands of mutated mosquitoes could soon be unleashed in Florida, but don’t worry: scientists say they have a plan.
It might sound like something out of a low-budget horror film, but the US Food and Drug Administration really is considering whether or not they should allow scientists to send thousands upon thousands of genetically altered insects into the wild.
– Millions of GMO Mosquitoes Released Without Risk Assessment or Oversight (Farm Wars, Nov 8, 2012):
Look out people of planet earth, genetically engineered bugs are here. Just in case you haven’t figured it out yet, our technocracy is working ever diligently on genetically engineering every last living cell on the planet – WITHOUT EXCEPTION. What does this mean for life here on earth? Ever hear the expression “soup sandwich?” Well, after these “scientific” geniuses are through with us, that is exactly what all life will be – a genetic soup sandwich, made in a lab, and stamped with a corporate logo embedded in our DNA.
If the following report from Testbiotech doesn’t send chills up your spine, I don’t know what will. Get ready world, because nothing will ever be the same. Ever. There is no remediation technique available to clean up genetically engineered mutations released into the wild and spread through horizontal gene transfer.
– Cities, counties nationwide begin mass aerial sprayings of toxic ‘anti-West Nile Virus’ pesticides (Natural News, Aug 20, 2012):
Dallas County, Texas, and several nearby towns and cities in the Dallas area are currently being forcibly sprayed with toxic insecticides as part of a government effort to supposedly eradicate mosquitoes that may be carriers of West Nile virus (WNv). The mass sprayings, which are ramping up all across the country, involve blanketing entire areas with chemicals sprayed via airplanes, a highly controversial protocol that threatens not only all other insects and animals exposed, but also humans.
According to the City of Dallas, more than 380 state-confirmed cases of WNv have been reported throughout Texas this year, and at least 16 people in the Lone Star State have died in conjunction with the virus. The specifics of these cases and deaths have not been publicly released, but authorities insist that the situation is serious enough to warrant a series of at least three conjunctive aerial sprayings throughout Dallas County, including in Highland Park and University Park.
Aerial spraying chemicals linked to causing Colony Collapse Disorder
– Low Flying Plane Is On A Mosquito Mission (CBS News, July 10, 2012):
MIAMI – Skeeters a problem? Lots of people think so, so Miami-Dade officials are calling in the cavalry;well, actually, the Air Force to kill the biting pests and their breeding grounds. However, the attack may come as a surprise because of how low the spraying planes fly.
– Genetically Engineered Mosquitoes released into the wild (Updated News, June 24, 2012):
Australian research scientists have developed a strategy for fighting Dengue fever, a viral disease spread by mosquitoes that affects more than 50 million people annually and causes fever and crippling joint and muscle pain—and in some cases even death.
Dengue kills FAR more people worldwide than influenza, yet it is rarely even mentioned by Western media.
A bacterium named Wolbachiapipientis naturally infects many insect species and has the ability to interfere with its host’s reproductive ability in such a way that entire populations become infected within just a few generationsi. When Wolbachia infects mosquitoes, the mosquitoes’ ability to transmit Dengue virus is almost completely blocked.
Researchers are encouraged that these bacterially infected mosquitoes are safe to humans and, once set loose, are capable of spreading on their own and overtaking the wild mosquito populations that transmit disease to humans.
In two northern Australian towns, between 10,000 and 20,000 of these infected mozzies were released (“mozzie” is Australian for mosquito), and wild mosquito infection rates neared 100 percent—meaning, mosquitoes that can infect humans were almost completely replaced by the ones that can’t.
What could possibly go wrong?
– Genetically modified mosquitoes may soon be released in Florida (Natural News, Feb. 12, 2012):
In an effort to help eradicate dengue fever and the mosquitos that spread it, the Florida Keys Mosquito Control District (FKMCD) is seeking federal and state approval to release hundreds of thousands of genetically-modified (GM) mosquitos designed to kill off the natural Aedes aegypti variety of the fly throughout Key West, Florida.
The agency, which already routinely performs aerial sprayings of the area with anti-mosquito chemicals, believes it will save money in the long run by releasing the GM mosquitos. Rather than spend $400,000 or more a year to conduct the aerial sprayings, FKMCD says it would instead only have to spend $200,000 to $300,000 a year on the GM mosquitos.
Created by U.K.-based insect eradication company Oxitec, the GM mosquitos have been created with an added gene that, unless they are given the antibiotic tetracycline, will automatically kill them. When they mate with wild mosquitos, these GM mosquitos also pass on this gene to the offspring, which is intended to gradually decrease the population of wild mosquitos over time.
If approved, the release of GM mosquitos in Key West will represent the first ever release of a GM creature in the U.S., and on a trial basis where scientists really have no idea what will happen. Like all other GMOs, it is unknown whether or not the GM mosquitos will have a detrimental effect on the environment or humans, or how killing of large amounts of mosquitos will disrupt the life cycles of natural ecosystems.
… And to protect himself from his ‘flying syringes’ or GMO mosquitos?
– Bill Gates spends $1m on laser defence system – to repel mosquitoes (Daily Mail, Nov. 4, 2011):
- System projects ‘cone’ of light mosquitoes won’t enter
- Gates Foundation investing $1m to help malaria battle
- Scientists unsure why ‘laser wall’ works: ‘They are probably scared,’ says professor
Most of us rely on gauze netting or repellent sprays.
But a professor from Columbia has developed possibly the ultimate mosquito deterrent – a laser defence system.
Bill Gates – whose Foundation is battling the spread of malaria – is so convinced by the idea that he’s investing $1 million in it.
Columbia University Associate Professor Szabolcs Márka is developing a ‘laser wall’ that repels any mosquito nearby.
The system can project a ‘cone’ of light that could surround and shield an entire family as they slept – more effectively than any previous system.
What could possibly go wrong?
– Concerns Are Raised About Genetically Engineered Mosquitoes (New York Times, Oct. 30, 2011):
These mosquitoes are genetically engineered to kill — their own children.
Researchers on Sunday reported initial signs of success from the first release into the environment of mosquitoes engineered to pass a lethal gene to their offspring, killing them before they reach adulthood.
The results, and other work elsewhere, could herald an age in which genetically modified insects will be used to help control agricultural pests and insect-borne diseases like dengue fever and malaria.
But the research is arousing concern about possible unintended effects on public health and the environment, because once genetically modified insects are released, they cannot be recalled.
TEMPLE TERRACE – A University of South Florida researcher stumbled out of her hotel room Monday night and told two guests she had ingested cyanide, police said.
Chitra Chauhan, 33, wife and mother of a 3-year-old, was pronounced dead at a hospital about two hours later, victim of an apparent suicide. A small amount of potassium cyanide was found on a table in her room.
The nature of Chauhan’s work and the manner of her death turned what investigators characterized as a private act into a public spectacle.