The Mad Unscientist and His Friends at Oxitec Are at it Again With GMO Mosquitoes.
What is it with Bill Gates and things that prick?
Bill Gates and Oxitec practice a different kind of persistence that is more along the lines of “if at first you don’t succeed, lie, lie again.”
So they are back to try to see if they can use GMO Aedes aegypti mosquitoes to wipe out wild Aedes aegypti mosquitoes, which can potentially carry viruses like dengue, chikungunya and Zika. Again.
This time they’ve deployed their army of frankenmosquitoes in Florida, where A. aegypti makes up only about 4% of the mosquito population and where they don’t have a mosquito-borne virus problem.
Does this Tweet inadvertently expose the master plan?
I joke, but it’s all so cartoonishly absurd and dishonest…
In the latest installment of science-by-press release, a Nature article tells us:
Researchers have completed the first open-air study of genetically engineered mosquitoes in the United States. The results, according to the biotechnology firm running the experiment, are positive. But larger tests are still needed to determine whether the insects can achieve the ultimate goal of suppressing a wild population of potentially virus-carrying mosquitoes.
The experiment has been underway since April 2021 in the Florida Keys, a chain of tropical islands near the southern tip of Florida. Oxitec, which developed the insects, released nearly five million engineered Aedes aegypti mosquitoes over the course of seven months, and has now almost completed monitoring the release sites.
Based in Abingdon, UK, the firm reported the first results from the experiment during a webinar on 6 April, although it has not yet published the data.
But Oxitec has done this experiment before. And it yielded “unintended consequences.”
Scientists at Yale and other universities came to some surprising findings when they studied a group of genetically modified mosquitoes released in Brazil.
A biotech company released tens of millions of male mosquitoes over the course of two years. They were genetically modified to produce sterile offspring. The company wanted to prevent the spread of diseases like malaria and Zika by culling the mosquito population.
“The idea would be that when these males mated with females, the offspring would die. And therefore the overall population size of the mosquitos would decline.”
Yale professor Jeffrey Powell studied some mosquitos in Brazil to find out how the experiment went.
“What we found was unexpected. Unpredicted.”
Scientists found hybrids of the genetically modified mosquitos and the native mosquitos – meaning some offspring weren’t sterile.
“We don’t know what the effect of having this hybrid population is. These could be stronger mosquitos, harder to control.”
For anyone paying attention, this should NOT have been a surprise. In March, 2015, Genewatch.org addressed a comprehensive list of concerns, including:
Unsupported claims by Oxitec about the suppression of wild mosquito populations.
Potential mechanisms through which releasing GM mosquitoes could exacerbate viral disease spread.
Evidence that Oxitec mosquitoes can survive and spread, including by feeding in areas contaminated with the antibiotic tetracycline, which is widely used in medicine and agriculture.
Evidence that biting female mosquitoes escape into the wild.
Unknowns about the potential health and environmental repercussions associated with being bitten by GMO mosquitoes.
The paper demonstrates that Oxitec knew that a percentage of it’s mosquitoes would survive and initially hid the evidence. According to GeneWatch, Oxitec has a track record of suppressing inconvenient outcomes and making unsubstantiated claims of “success.”
But no amount of success can solve a public health problem that doesn’t exist. The Florida Keys has no substantial Aedes-related viral issue. And since A. aegypti only comprises 4% of the mosquito population, suppressing them won’t reduce the (asserted) need for pesticides.
So yeah, I’m kinda irritated. A lot of people I care about live in Florida and I know this experiment won’t serve them. I think it’s much more likely to harm them.
And, really, how many fabricated or exaggerated public health crises can we take?What will it take to get people to recognize the script as it plays out over and over again?
Zika was my “they’re lying and they know it” moment.
It started the way waking up starts for many of us: something didn’t make sense and I started to see an agenda pushing up against my ability to “live and let live.”
I was supposed to be afraid to travel to my families favorite beach destination (Costa Rica) because a mosquito-borne illness called Zika that had been around since 1947 might suddenly cause microcephaly in babies whose mothers had been exposed.
That’s when I started paying close attention and asking questions. I watched the Brazilian Health Ministry, WHO, NIH, CDC converge around a Zika/microcephaly narrative despite scientists and citizens who questioned those links. They pointed to other potential culprits like a new mandatory Tdap vaccine campaign for pregnant women, a dengue vaccine clinical trial, the widespread use of pesticides and herbicides that were known to cause birth defects, and the release of millions of Oxitec’s GMO mosquitos. I watched as those theories were magically “debunked” (due to lack of evidence) and witnessed CDC and NIH change their descriptions of Zika and microcephaly overnight to include new terms like “Zika microcephaly” (despite a lack of evidence).
It was the first time I witnessed the clumping together of "confirmed and suspected” cases. It was also the first time I watched the broadening of diagnostic parameters and the very changing of definitions to elevate numbers and amplify fear.
And I wrote about my discoveries while on my flight to Costa Rica (because I refused to cancel my trip over Zika).
And then, after I had done a little more digging, I wrote some more.
Interestingly, when it comes to Zika, the suspected problems and the proposed solutions are eerily similar. Throughout 2016, Oxitec both denied responsibility for the Zika outbreak and offered its mosquitoes as a potential remedy. In fact, in the same week that the Zika-microcephaly link was making headlines, Oxitec put out a press release boasting unprecedented success in suppressing the Zika, dengue and chikungunya carrying Aedes aegypti mosquito population in Brazil . However, the “success” of the their mosquito technology failed to prevent outbreaks of mosquito-borne disease. In Februrary 2014, Jacobina, Brazil, one of the locations where Oxitec conducted research, experienced a dengue emergency. Brazil also experienced its first chikungunya and Zika outbreaks that year in the midst of Oxitec’s most extensive open release GMO mosquito trail. The company has met with resistance in its pursuit of clinical trials in the Florida Keys since 2011, but with Zika fears heightened, residents finally agreed in November to the limited release of the genetically modified mosquitoes. Billions more will also be released in Brazil….
Oxitec, which currently has a monopoly on genetically-modified insects, has already shown itself to be somewhat “ethically-challenged” having done its first field trial with this new technology in Grand Cayman amidst the island’s uninformed public in 2009. And new conflicts of interest are already surfacing as we develop a plan here. In response to the strong resistance Florida residents have demonstrated with regards to GMO mosquitoes over the last five years, Oxitec’s parent company, Intrexon Corporation, launched the Florida Keys Safety Alliance, a PAC (political action committee) “dedicated to informed decision-making on the use of genetically engineered mosquitoes to suppress the invasive mosquito that carries the Zika virus.” As part of this campaign, Intrexon hired one-time lobbyist, Stephen Vancore, and posted an ad in Craigslist, offering $15/hour for “door-to-door canvassers” to help with “an education awareness campaign” aimed at residents in Monroe County who were to vote on a non-binding referendum related to the use of genetically modified mosquitoes to suppress the mosquito population. In November, following months of pesticide spraying and aggressive fear campaign, Key residents voted in favor of the referendum.
So I was paying attention when Florida residents vocally asserted that they didn’t want these mosquitoes. They were smart enough to be wary. Oxitec wore them down.
Take both their success stories and their reassurances with a grain of salt.
Thanks for your incredible reporting on this. I was not aware. Very important story and strategy to recognize the underlying dynamics in another domain. Words that come to mind that are described by not said enough are sadism, megalomania and domination. Also mystification, described by Marx & RD Laing as a plausible misrepresentation of reality presenting forms of exportation as forms of benevolence, and terror management theory - the psychological effects of mortality salience. I hope this gets viewed widely.