Could genetically engineered mosquitoes combat the Zika virus? - Tucson News Now

Could genetically engineered mosquitoes combat the Zika virus?

Scientists are trying to fight the Zika virus with genetically modified mosquitoes. (Source: WOIO) Scientists are trying to fight the Zika virus with genetically modified mosquitoes. (Source: WOIO)
CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) -

A company called Oxitec believes genetically engineered mosquitoes could fight the Zika virus.

It's waiting on approval to release millions of the mosquitoes in Florida. Its goal is to reduce the virus-carrying population by cutting down on their offspring, but the genetically modified mosquito hasn't gotten off the ground here in the United States quite yet.

"They will actually mate with wild females and the offspring will die young, so they won't live long enough to transmit the virus. That technology has been approved for use in Brazil, where Zika is a large problem now," said Dawn Wesson, an associate professor of tropical medicine at Tulane University.

Meanwhile in Puerto Rico, where more than 5,000 people -- including more than 670 pregnant woman -- have been infected by the virus. A congressman is calling for the genetically modified mosquitoes to be deployed under an emergency authorization.

“In theory, that should work very well, the modeling suggests it should work very well. In reality, it may not be as clean cut as that, when Mother Nature comes into the picture, often things act differently than we expect them to,” Wesson said.

Oxitec, the company that alters these mosquitoes, wants to conduct trials in the Florida Keys. Some residents are against the plans, but the FDA says testing genetically modified mosquitoes here in the United States is safe. Oxitec says trials in Brazil have shown the technique can wipe out up to 96 percent of the dangerous Aedes Aegypti mosquito. The company says it’s been proven that the genetically modified mosquito bite is no different than a wild mosquito bite.

Key West residents will vote on the test trials for the mosquitoes in the fall.

Follow Cleveland 19 News:  

Download the Cleveland 19 News app

Copyright 2016 WOIO. All rights reserved.

  • Local newsMore>>

  • Candidate claims petition signatures stolen from Tucson office

    Candidate claims petition signatures stolen from Tucson office

    Friday, May 25 2018 1:40 AM EDT2018-05-25 05:40:30 GMT
    Mark Robert Gordon, a potential candidate for Arizona's Secretary of State, claims someone stole some of his petition signatures from the Pima County Democratic Party Headquarters in Tucson. (Source: Tucson News Now)Mark Robert Gordon, a potential candidate for Arizona's Secretary of State, claims someone stole some of his petition signatures from the Pima County Democratic Party Headquarters in Tucson. (Source: Tucson News Now)
    Mark Robert Gordon, a potential candidate challenging incumbent Michele Reagan, claims his campaign experienced a theft from the Pima County Democratic Party Headquarters on East 1st Street. (Source: Tucson News Now)Mark Robert Gordon, a potential candidate challenging incumbent Michele Reagan, claims his campaign experienced a theft from the Pima County Democratic Party Headquarters on East 1st Street. (Source: Tucson News Now)

    Mark Robert Gordon, a potential candidate for Arizona's Secretary of State, claims someone stole some of his petition signatures from the Pima County Democratic Party Headquarters in Tucson.

    Mark Robert Gordon, a potential candidate for Arizona's Secretary of State, claims someone stole some of his petition signatures from the Pima County Democratic Party Headquarters in Tucson.

  • Cholla High senior beats odds, graduates

    Cholla High senior beats odds, graduates

    Thursday, May 24 2018 11:58 PM EDT2018-05-25 03:58:57 GMT
    Victor Garcia Villicana was one of 362 Cholla High seniors graduating Thursday night. (Source: Tucson News Now)Victor Garcia Villicana was one of 362 Cholla High seniors graduating Thursday night. (Source: Tucson News Now)
    Victor Garcia Villicana was one of 362 Cholla High seniors graduating Thursday night. (Source: Tucson News Now)Victor Garcia Villicana was one of 362 Cholla High seniors graduating Thursday night. (Source: Tucson News Now)

    Victor Garcia Villicana was one of 362 Cholla High seniors graduating Thursday night. His story started different than most, but ended the same thanks to a lot of determination.

    Victor Garcia Villicana was one of 362 Cholla High seniors graduating Thursday night. His story started different than most, but ended the same thanks to a lot of determination.

  • Two major developments coming to UA Tech Park

    Two major developments coming to UA Tech Park

    Thursday, May 24 2018 10:43 PM EDT2018-05-25 02:43:12 GMT

    The UA Tech Park announced two major projects for the southeast side of Tucson.

    The UA Tech Park announced two major projects for the southeast side of Tucson.

  • Trending StoriesTrending StoriesMore>>

  • Rachel Dolezal, who posed as black, accused of welfare fraud

    Rachel Dolezal, who posed as black, accused of welfare fraud

    Thursday, May 24 2018 9:02 PM EDT2018-05-25 01:02:28 GMT
    Friday, May 25 2018 2:14 AM EDT2018-05-25 06:14:01 GMT
    (AP Photo/Nicholas K. Geranios, File). FILE - In this March 20, 2017, file photo, Rachel Dolezal poses for a photo with her son, Langston, at the bureau of The Associated Press in Spokane, Wash. Dolezal, a former NAACP leader in Washington state whose ...(AP Photo/Nicholas K. Geranios, File). FILE - In this March 20, 2017, file photo, Rachel Dolezal poses for a photo with her son, Langston, at the bureau of The Associated Press in Spokane, Wash. Dolezal, a former NAACP leader in Washington state whose ...
    A former NAACP leader in Washington state whose life unraveled after she was outed as a white woman pretending to be black has been charged with welfare fraud.
    A former NAACP leader in Washington state whose life unraveled after she was outed as a white woman pretending to be black has been charged with welfare fraud.
  • $1 billion settlement awarded to rape victim

    $1 billion settlement awarded to rape victim

    Friday, May 25 2018 5:08 AM EDT2018-05-25 09:08:07 GMT
    Friday, May 25 2018 5:20 AM EDT2018-05-25 09:20:07 GMT
    Hope Cheston, who was raped by a security guard when she was a teenager, has been awarded a $1 billion verdict against the rapist's employer. (Source: WGCL/CNN)Hope Cheston, who was raped by a security guard when she was a teenager, has been awarded a $1 billion verdict against the rapist's employer. (Source: WGCL/CNN)

    A woman who was raped by a security guard when she was a teenager has been awarded a $1 billion verdict against the rapist's employer.

    A woman who was raped by a security guard when she was a teenager has been awarded a $1 billion verdict against the rapist's employer.

  • Amazon: Echo device sent conversation to family's contact

    Amazon: Echo device sent conversation to family's contact

    Thursday, May 24 2018 5:52 PM EDT2018-05-24 21:52:19 GMT
    Friday, May 25 2018 6:45 AM EDT2018-05-25 10:45:26 GMT
    A woman says her Amazon device recorded a private conversation and sent it out to a random contact. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan, File)A woman says her Amazon device recorded a private conversation and sent it out to a random contact. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan, File)
    A woman says her Amazon device recorded a private conversation and sent it out to a random contact. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan, File)A woman says her Amazon device recorded a private conversation and sent it out to a random contact. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan, File)

    Amazon says an "unlikely" string of events prompted its Echo personal assistant device to record a Portland, Oregon, family's private conversation and then send the recording to an acquaintance in Seattle.

    Amazon says an "unlikely" string of events prompted its Echo personal assistant device to record a Portland, Oregon, family's private conversation and then send the recording to an acquaintance in Seattle.

Powered by Frankly