Could Genetically Modified Mosquitoes Reduce Disease?

FILE - In this Feb. 11, 2016 file photo of aedes aegypti mosquitoes are seen in a mosquito cage at a laboratory in Cucuta, Colombia. Congress is ready to act on President Barack Obama’s long-stalled request for emergency funds to combat the Zika virus, which has been linked to serious birth defects and other major health problems. Obama requested $1.9 billion three months ago for several purposes, including creating a vaccine for the disease, taking steps to control the mosquitoes that spread Zika and helping other countries battle the virus. (AP Photo/Ricardo Mazalan, File)

COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH)–Research is on-going reduce the number of mosquitoes that are capable of transmitting diseases. Ohio State University entomologist Dr. David Shetlar described how experts at The Ohio State University in Wooster are studying “genetic and physiological methods of managing mosquitoes so that they are unable to transmit diseases.”

The Zika virus, which is transmitted to humans by the Aedes aegypti mosquito population in tropical climates such as the Caribbean, South and Central America, has been linked to a rare nervous-system disorder and birth defects, including microcephaly that results in babies born with abnormally small heads and decreased brain growth. The Ohio Department of Health has reported four cases in Ohio recently, all acquired by travelers abroad in areas where mosquito populations thrive.

One genetic modification under study that has shown substantial success in trials prevents eggs from hatching, after infusing males with bacteria before mating. More than 50 cases of travel-related Zika virus have been confirmed in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s