Zerohedge reported -
When examining a rapidly expanding potential pandemic, its necessary to leave no stone unturned so possible solutions, as well as future prevention, will be as effective as possible. In that vein, there was another significant development in 2015.
Oxitec first unveiled its large-scale, genetically-modified mosquito farm in Brazil in July 2012, with the goal of reducing the incidence of dengue fever, as The Disease Daily reported. Dengue fever is spread by the same Aedes mosquitoes which spread the Zika virus and though they cannot fly more than 400 meters, WHO stated, it may inadvertently be transported by humans from one place to another. By July 2015, shortly after the GM mosquitoes were first released into the wild in Juazeiro, Brazil, Oxitec proudly announced they had successfully controlled the Aedes aegypti mosquito that spreads dengue fever, chikungunya and zika virus, by reducing the target population by more than 90%.
Though that might sound like an astounding success and, arguably, it was there is an alarming possibility to consider.
Nature, as one Redditor keenly pointed out, finds a way and the effort to control dengue, zika, and other viruses, appears to have backfired dramatically.
A poorly trained technical writer at Discover magazine argued -
A new ridiculous rumor is spreading around the internets. According to conspiracy theorists, the recent outbreak of Zika can be blamed on the British biotech company Oxitec, which some are saying even intentionally caused the disease as a form of ethnic cleansing or population control. The articles all cite a lone Redditor who proposed the connection on January 25th to the Conspiracy subreddit. There are no biological free lunches, says one commenter on the idea. Releasing genetically altered species into the environment could have disastrous consequences another added. Maybe thats what some entities want to happen?
For some reason, its been one of those months where random nonsense suddenly hits mainstream. Here are the facts: theres no evidence whatsoever to support this conspiracy theory, or any of the other bizarre, anti-science claims that have popped up in the past few weeks. So lets stop all of this right here, right now: The Earth is round, not flat (and its definitely not hollow). Last year was the hottest year on record, and climate change is really happening (so please just stop, Mr. Cruz). And FFS, genetically modified mosquitoes didnt start the Zika outbreak.
Let us try it differently.
Observation. A correlation between spread of zika virus and Oxitec’s action has been observed.
Correlation does not mean causation (check - “Do not Go for a Swim after Having an Ice Cream”). However, the correlation is still a valid observation that needs to be explained.
The problem with Discover Magazine’s argument is that instead of trying to think about various ways to explain the correlation and ruling them out, it decided to present its own model of why there could not be any connection between Oxitec and Zika, and then boldly claimed theirs is the only possible model.
How about another possibility? Let us say there are two subspecies of Aedes aegypti mosquito - Aedes aegypti “dengue” and Aedes aegypti “zika” - spreading dengue and zika respectively. The current scientific knowledge assigns both diseases to one ‘Aedes aegypti’, but that may be a limitation of current knowledge. It is possible that Oxitec targeted Aedes aegypti “dengue” subspecies and wiped it out. As a result, the other mosquito fill up its space. Will zika cases explode in such a scenario?