- Local authorities already approved the release of 750 million “Robo-squitoes” in Florida Keys in 2021 and 2022.
- These genetically-modified mosquitoes are programmed to control Aedes aegypti.
- Local residents and environmental groups object the proposal due to the lack of comprehensive studies about the modified mosquitoes’ impact on humans and the environment.
- Oxitec also plans to release these mutant mosquitoes in Harris County, Texas beginning next year.
In 2021, Oxitec will release 750 million genetically-engineered mosquitoes in the Florida Keys. The plan is to use these insects as substitute for insecticides—which are ineffective and costly— to control Aedes aegypti, a mosquito type that carries deadly diseases such as Zika, dengue, chikungunya, and yellow fever.
Local authorities have already green-lighted the proposal and it has won state and federal approval as well. However, many residents and environmentalists are protesting, claiming these modified mosquitoes may put humans at risk and “could potentially harm threatened and endangered species.”
Oxitec, a US-owned, British-based company developed 0X5034, a genetically modified male mosquito.
It produces female offsprings that die at the larval stage, while subsequent male offsprings remain carriers of the “kill” gene.
According to the Center for Food Safety, however, scientists are unconvinced that these “Robo-squitoes” are safe.
“Scientists have raised major concerns that GE mosquitoes could create hybrid wild mosquitoes which could worsen the spread of mosquito-borne diseases and which may be more resistant to insecticides than the original wild mosquitoes,” the group said in a statement on Wednesday.
Jaydee Hanson, policy director for the International Center for Technology Assessment and Center for Food Safety also said,“With all the urgent crises facing our nation and the State of Florida — the Covid-19 pandemic, racial injustice, climate change — the administration has used tax dollars and government resources for a Jurassic Park experiment.”
“Now the Monroe County Mosquito Control District has given the final permission needed. What could possibly go wrong? We don’t know, because EPA unlawfully refused to seriously analyze environmental risks, now without further review of the risks, the experiment can proceed,” she added.
A Change. org petition soliciting 300,000 signatories to stop the plan have, so far, gathered 233,659 signatures as of Thursday.
They are demanding more tests to further assess the risks and impacts of these modified mosquitoes on humans and the environment. On top of that, they’ve also emphasized their refusal to make the fragile environments of Florida Keys and Texas as testing grounds.
Australia Secures Access to “Promising” Covid-19 Vaccine, Will Be Given Free To Entire Population
“If this vaccine proves successful, we will manufacture and supply vaccines straight away under our own steam and make it free for 25 million Australians,” said Prime Minister Scott Morrison.
- The Australian government has signed a deal to secure "early access" for the coronavirus vaccine being developed by drug company AstraZeneca and the Oxford University.
- Once proven effective in clinical trials, the cure will be given for free to the country's entire population as Prime Minister Scott Morrison said that it will be "mandatory."
- Currently, Australia has over 24,000 confirmed. Covid-19 cases. With more than 450 deaths.
Lebanon COVID-19 Cases Increase Following Beirut Explosion
Health officials are now calling for a 2-week lockdown, in the hopes of curbing the spread of the virus.
- Health officials in Lebanon are requesting for a two-week lockdown to help curb the spread of Covid-19 in the country.
- The number of new infections have recently risen, following the tragic explosion in Beirut last August 4.
- "We don't have the luxury of time," warned Lebanese Health Minister Hamad Hassan.
Shoppers Flock At Mall’s Shoe Sale, Ignoring Health Protocols
They seem to have forgotten about the coronavirus pandemic.
- Hundreds of excited shoppers swarmed to a mall in Cagayan de Oro, Philippines last August 15.
- Announcement of a clearance sale up to 80% on branded shoes attracted consumers.
- Authorities stopped the sale as people ignored health protocols amidst the coronavirus pandemic.
- The shop may be sanctioned for holding the sale.
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