Friday, August 20, 2010

Man plays God again

If the authorities are really compentent, the problem of mosquitoes is quite simple. The increase of mosquitoes are mainly due to the number of foreign workers, increase in rubber price and the "tidak apa" (couldn't care) attitude of Government servants.
Let me point you to the source of the mosquitoes problems:-
1. Check every foreign workers' squatters, especially the illegals found in the estates and forests
2. Construction sites
3. Rubber estates
4. All outdoor government departments - and even Penang General Hospital's drains (Yes this one is real and I personally saw it with my naked eyes - go see for yourself during the dry season)
There you are, no need to play God, just do your job!
'Don't release new strain of Aedes mosquitoes'
Fri, 20 Aug 2010 06:00
By G Vinod

PETALING JAYA: A plan to release about 3,000 genetically modified Aedes mosquitoes into the environment may be just the weapon needed to curb the spread of the deadly dengue fever. The National Biosafety Board (NBB) is studying the plan in view of the alarming number of lives lost in the country to the infectious disease.

But the Third World Network (TWN), an independent non-profit international body involved in issues relating to development, has sounded a warning: don't jump the gun.

It has urged the NBB to reject the plan, saying the new non-biting male Aedes mosquitoes from the OX513A strain may cause other environmental problems.

The TWN said that a number of factors must be considered before such a move is undertaken.

The NBB is assessing a field experiment proposal from the Institute of Medical Research to release the mosquitoes in Bentong, Pahang, and Alor Gajah, Malacca, in early October.

It is hoped that the genetically-modified OX513A male mosquitoes will mate with the female strain, causing its progeny to be dead and thus eventually reduce the number of Aedes mosquitoes.

Currently, NBB is seeking public opinion over the matter in its website, and the deadline is Sept 4.

“Although the board is seeking public opinion, many other factors must be taken into account before releasing them (mosquitoes),”said TWN's senior researcher Lim Li Ching.

She said that one important factor to be considered is that the progeny of the mosquitoes will only be dead provided the environment is free of an antibiotic called tetracycline.

“However, tetracycline is fairly common as it is used for medical, veterinary, lifestock and agricultural purposes.

“If the mosquitoes breed in the presence of this antibiotic, the progeny may live and may increase the Aedes population in the environment,” said Lim.

Subsequently, the living progeny may pose additional health risks, being the by-product of a genetically modified male.

“These new Aedes mosquitoes may then cause another environmental problem as it may alter the way the disease (dengue) is transmitted,” said Lim.

New strain a concern

Lim added that even if the strategy is effective in suppressing the population of the Aedes mosquitoes in the long run, it may open the gateway to another health problem.

“In a natural ecological cycle, when one species goes down, another takes its place. There is concern that once you suppress the Aedes mosquitoes, another strain may take over their place and cause further harm to humans,” said Lim.

She also has a word of caution for the government: don't jump the gun by releasing the genetically modified insects into the environment because even the international community is wary of it.

“The international community is still debating about the safety of genetically modified food products and here we are planning to release genetically modified insects,” she said.

Lim also questioned whether Malaysia has adequate capacity to control this proposed release.

“Are we able to recall the genetically-modified mosquitoes to control the situation if anything goes wrong?” she asked.

Source here

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