Fighting Dengue With Genetically Modified Mosquitoes
Richard Adey, Oxitec Malaysia Chairman | Dr Helen Wallace, GeneWatch UK Director | Mila De Mier, Community Activist
More than 71,000 cases of dengue fever have been recorded nationwide from January to August this year. During this time, there were nearly 200 deaths, almost double the number in the same period last year. Meanwhile according to a recent report, China have been releasing mosquitoes infected with wolbachia bacteria, which make the males sterile and limit the insects’ ability to carry dengue. Scientists claim, the method has reduced the mosquito population by 90% in southern China. Back home, together with British company Oxitec, Malaysia at one time was the pioneer in the research of another method using genetically modified mosquitoes, for several years. Oxitec is still hopeful that a deal can be struck with the Malaysian government to introduce this technology to the environment. We explore the contrasting views on the benefits, efficacy and risks of this approach.
This is a report by Shawn Tanis.