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.
|Aedes aegypti mosquitos, which can spread the dengue fever.(Reuters / Stringer)|
"The science of it, I think, looks fine. It's straight from setting up experiments and collecting data," Michael Doyle of the Florida Keys Mosquito Control District tells the Associated Press.
No vaccination against dengue fever is currently available in any part of the world, and although the mortality rate associated with it is low, it’s still a serious concern. In the Florida Keys where the economy relies on tourism, an epidemic of any sort could be catastrophic. Some fear that sending mutated mosquitos into the environment could have grave implications as well, though, and are asking for more thorough testing before the FDA makes a decision. Of course, it doesn’t help the scientists’ case that it will take several rounds of releasing genetically modified mosquitos in order for their plan to work.
"The public resistance and the need to reach some agreement between mosquito control and the public, I see that as a very significant issue, outside of the (operating) costs, since this is not just a one-time thing," Phil Lounibos of the Florida Medical Entomology Laboratory tells the AP.
Read More: Florida scientists prepare to release hundreds of thousands of genetically modified mosquitoes — RT