Malaysia to use genetically modified mosquitoes to fight dengue

Malaysia looks to be the first country in Asia to release genetically modified mosquitoes in the hope to combat the spread of Dengue.

The program is looking to use genetically engineered mosquitos which are reported as having a “short life span” but from what I read earlier in the year and last year I believe the Males (the ones they plan to release) will breed to create a new batch which have smaller wings and unable to fly. Thus they are easier to catch by predators and the life expectancy would then rely on things eating them rather than just dropping dead (which the article I picked up today suggested). But I could be wrong but for the amount of work that has gone into this I would expect the same method/project to be in operation as it would be pointless to mix two different types of genetically modified mosquitoes into the environment where that could cause some major side affects in the food chain.

So what ha happened now is there is a pilot project to be run according to the Prime Minister Najib Razak.

Malaysian scientists say laboratory test trials have made them optimistic.

Dengue fever is spread by the Aedes aegypti mosquito which is common in Asia and Latin America. Symptoms include high fever, joint pains and nausea, but in severe cases, it can lead to internal bleeding, liver enlargement, circulatory shutdown and death. There is no known cure or vaccine and there are different degrees of the illness surviving the first time and catching again its likely the second time to be more severe.

Malaysia has the same problems as the Philippines in that getting people to keep areas clean is pretty much impossible same as removing stagnant water. Outside in our mud roadway there are large puddles formed up everywhere with stagnant water it badly needs infilling with rubble to level it off. But no doubt I will have to do it or nobody else will bother. The rubbish and water are keen breeding grounds for the mosquitoes and currently this year we have seen here in the Philippines and in Malaysia a steep rise in the number of cases of Dengue currently Malaysia has seen a 65% increase in deaths a total of 117 between January and October. Overall the cases of Dengue has increased by 17% to 37,000 cases in Malaysia.

Malaysian authorities plan to release between 2,000 and 3,000 genetically modified mosquitoes in two areas, said Lim Chua Leng, a Health Ministry official. The plan, which cannot be undertaken without Cabinet approval, would be the first such release of genetically modified mosquitoes in Asia to combat dengue.

The only issue here is if there is a major shift in the natural food chain and hopefully with the pilot scheme we will see the loss of the mosquitoes will do minimal damage.

2 comments for “Malaysia to use genetically modified mosquitoes to fight dengue

  1. TropicalPenpals
    October 11, 2010 at 5:41 pm

    New blog post: . – Malaysia to use genetically modified mosquitoes to fight dengue