Scientists To Release Altered Mosquitoes To Fight Dengue Fever

This is pretty cool. Scientists are about to release mosquitoes infected with a bacteria that cut cut the incidence of dengue fever in half.

Known as “breakbone fever” because of its pain, dengue fever kills 40,000 people a year and infects over 100 million in tropical nations.

The fruit-fly bacterium called Wolbachia in the altered mosquitoes halves the lifespan of the bugs, which reduces transmission of the fever since it occurs in older bugs. This is the work of Scott O’Neill and his colleagues at the University of Queensland in Brisbane, Australia. This effort is specifically directed at Aedes mosquitoes and the altered bugs will be released in Australia and Vietnam.

Source: News Scientist

38 thoughts on “Scientists To Release Altered Mosquitoes To Fight Dengue Fever”

  1. Bdaman
    1, October 9, 2010 at 2:13 pm
    Blouise as mentioned a few days ago, Paula is thinking of coming to town. She’s packing her backs now and by the looks of it she’s doing it in a huff.

    Residents of Cuba, The Caymans, South Florida and the Bahamas should begin to closely monitor the possible development of this system.

    http://www.ssd.noaa.gov/goes/flt/t2/flash-vis.html

    =======================================================

    You need to move! I recommend the shores of Lake Erie … snow never acts like this!

    Once again … stay safe.

  2. In terms of dealing with mosquitoes, DDT is hard to beat as the documentary 3 Billion and Counting shows (www.3billionandcounting.com). It has a significant repellant effect which works wonders in keeping the little blighters out of homes at night. Those that do enter are disorientated and tend not to bite. If they come in contact with DDT sprayed on the walls, they’re generally dead. You’ll have heard of resistance, and yes, mozzies can become resistant to the kill effect of DDT – BUT most importantly the spatial repellancy effect remains active. Great news if you happen to live in a rural area.

    Does that mean I’m against bed nets or “altered mosquitoes” as per the title of this discussion? Absolutely not. I am however fully behind the indoor spraying of DDT. It is extremely effective in rapidly reducing malaria cases. I’d rather save people’s lives than bugs. That’s a fact.

  3. Blouise as mentioned a few days ago, Paula is thinking of coming to town. She’s packing her backs now and by the looks of it she’s doing it in a huff.

    Residents of Cuba, The Caymans, South Florida and the Bahamas should begin to closely monitor the possible development of this system.

    http://www.ssd.noaa.gov/goes/flt/t2/flash-vis.html

  4. “Sorry you took this personally. No doubt I should have written with more clarity. My objection was not with your call for caution, but with the notion of Culheath that the Huffington article presented good evidence against GM products. It did not provide good evidence against the specific GM engineered product which Culheath listed as a proof source, and it was completely hysterical in its use false inductive logic to cast aspersions on all other GM products.” (Gingerbaker)

    Yep, that usually happens when someone quotes my post and follows the quote with a response … I figure said response is to the post quoted. No apology was necessary on your part as I refuted it and moved on to my tomatoes.

    Sadly, no flavor took so the hybrid tomatoes remain tasteless. I have given up and moved on to strawberries.

  5. Blouise:

    ““Being against ALL GM products is not particular reasonable, it is a bigoted approach … it is called mutation and evolution.” (Gingerbaker October 9, 2010 at 12:52 am)

    Your assumption that using a cautioned approach is bigoted and also an indication that one is against ALL GM products is spinning the meaning of my post into a mutation of your own design. In creating a point with which you wish to take exception, acknowledge your own authorship of said point. (see post by Rich October 9, 2010 at 10:23 am)”

    Sorry you took this personally. No doubt I should have written with more clarity. My objection was not with your call for caution, but with the notion of Culheath that the Huffington article presented good evidence against GM products. It did not provide good evidence against the specific GM engineered product which Culheath listed as a proof source, and it was completely hysterical in its use false inductive logic to cast aspersions on all other GM products.

    From the article:

    “…We are playing Russian roulette with our future and our children’s future. We can no longer turn a blind eye to the consequences of trying to remake the natural world so it can turn a tidy profit for a privileged few….”

    This is bullshit, and does not provide purchase for any honest reasonable caution.

    Thus, the article and Culheath’s conclusions from it were bigoted, in the sense that they drew conclusions about all GM products based on the experience of one product.

    So, neither the article, nor Culheath’s conclusion, nor your praise of that conclusion seems warranted to me because it all was subverted by the dreadful nature of that lousy article on a website now becoming absolutely notorious for its brazen disregard for scientific truth and promotion of anti-science, anti-medicine new-agey baloney.

    So, caution – of course! But a general indictment of GM products, no.

  6. “Being against ALL GM products is not particular reasonable, it is a bigoted approach … it is called mutation and evolution.” (Gingerbaker October 9, 2010 at 12:52 am)

    Your assumption that using a cautioned approach is bigoted and also an indication that one is against ALL GM products is spinning the meaning of my post into a mutation of your own design. In creating a point with which you wish to take exception, acknowledge your own authorship of said point. (see post by Rich October 9, 2010 at 10:23 am)

    Now I must get back to the greenhouse … I’m attempting to put some flavor back into hybrid tomatoes ….

  7. “The endless spamming, however, is a threat to reasonable discourse.'(Rich)

    I like your style.

  8. Libertarians are always touting DDT and ignoring that ‘skeeters developed immunity around the same time that DDT’s environmental harms became well documented.

    Actually there are two forms of Dengue–one is a lot like the flu and of little consequence, the other is Dengue Hemorrhagic fever which is the classic “breakbone fever”. A colleague of mine had the latter and was too weak to do anything. He told his doctor that he was too weak to even shave and the doctor said “good”, because he probably would have bled to death if he’d had a simple nick. Past exposure to the milder form of Dengue is thought to increase the risk of Dengue Hemorrhagic fever.

    Both Dengues are starting to turn up in urban areas like Bangkok. Any measure to control this disease will have tremendous public health impact and may help in providing a model for how to address Malaria and Japanese Encephalitis (JE). there is a very weak Dengue vaccine that is of little use and an effective JE vaccine whose cost makes large scale use prohibitive.

    The arguments here are quite silly. DDT is not a long-term solution to anything. GM is not the end of life as we know it. The endless spamming, however, is a threat to reasonable discourse.

  9. culheath
    1, October 8, 2010 at 11:48 am
    I am highly suspicious of any genetic manipulation being released into the wild. I side with Addiction Analyst and Gingerbaker on this one. There have already been serious harmful side effects to such releases…

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/andrew-gunther/gm-gene-out-of-the-bottle_b_679294.html

    =========================================================

    Yours is a reasoned response to this article and it removes us from the inane argument that always seems to involve conservative/progressive competitions.

    At one point in time in our history, washing one’s hands as a method of staying healthy was considered revolutionary and radical. My grandchild is living a full and unimpeded life thanks to the innovation of those who only a few decades ago went against the accepted medical practices and started transplanting hearts. Thirty years ago she would have died within a few days after birth.

    I too am suspicious of genetic manipulation but mankind has remained a thriving species because we have always sought to control our environment. Of course nature adapts to our attempts and presents us with new challenges. Thus your note of caution is a reasoned response with which I will agree.

    1) The Huffington Post is a cesspool of anti-science FUD and woo.

    2) The author of the article has no scientific background. The article is full of hyperbole.

    3) Read some of the comments by pro GM commenters. They will put things into perspective.

    4) Being against ALL GM products is not particular reasonable, it is a bigoted approach, born of too much sci-fi movies. Plants are constantly modifying their own genomes – it is called mutation and evolution. Resistance patterns are always changing. Hybridization (plant husbandry) by humans has been modifying plant genomes for thousands of years. Hybrid plants, both GM and non GM, are saving millions of lives.

  10. “culheath
    1, October 8, 2010 at 11:48 am
    I am highly suspicious of any genetic manipulation being released into the wild. I side with Addiction Analyst and Gingerbaker on this one. There have already been serious harmful side effects to such releases…”

    Well, it’s always nice to be invited to a party, but I really must refuse your invitation, as I do not agree with your statement.

    I am not against genetic modification products and I believe that some of them have the potential to help a lot of needy people.

  11. http://epw.senate.gov/hearing_statements.cfm?id=246769
    Donald R Roberts Ph D

    The advent of DDT QUICKLY ERADICATED MALARIA frm the United States.
    DDT routed malaria from many other countries as well. The Europeans who were freed of malaria would hardly describe its use as a failure. After DDT was introduced to malaria control in Sri Lanka (then Ceylon), the number of malaria cases fell from 2.8 million in 1946 to just 110 in 1961. Similar spectacular decreases in malaria cases and deaths were seen in all the regions that began to use DDT. The newly formed Republic of China (Taiwan) adopted DDT use in malaria control shortly after World War II. In 1945 there were over 1 million cases of malaria on the island. By 1969 there were only 9 cases and shortly thereafter the disease was eradicated from the island and remains so to this day.

    DDT kills mosquitoes. In case of subsequent resistance to DDT in mosquitoes DDT still does a great job as DDT HAS A REPELLING effect.

    http://www.3billionandcounting.com

  12. Byron,

    Once you’re finished with that line of thought, I’ve got the Scarecrow from the Wizard of Oz cornered and could sure use the help of someone experienced with fighting… his kind.

  13. I have a question why is OK to manipulate the economy but not genes? The economy is much more complex than the genetic code of a mosquito.

  14. culheath
    1, October 8, 2010 at 11:48 am
    I am highly suspicious of any genetic manipulation being released into the wild. I side with Addiction Analyst and Gingerbaker on this one. There have already been serious harmful side effects to such releases…

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/andrew-gunther/gm-gene-out-of-the-bottle_b_679294.html

    =========================================================

    Yours is a reasoned response to this article and it removes us from the inane argument that always seems to involve conservative/progressive competitions.

    At one point in time in our history, washing one’s hands as a method of staying healthy was considered revolutionary and radical. My grandchild is living a full and unimpeded life thanks to the innovation of those who only a few decades ago went against the accepted medical practices and started transplanting hearts. Thirty years ago she would have died within a few days after birth.

    I too am suspicious of genetic manipulation but mankind has remained a thriving species because we have always sought to control our environment. Of course nature adapts to our attempts and presents us with new challenges. Thus your note of caution is a reasoned response with which I will agree.

Comments are closed.