(NaturalNews) Transgenic insects developed by a British company as the solution to dengue fever in the Third World are causing the debilitating disease to spread even worse, according to new reports. Genetically modified (GM) mosquitoes developed by Oxitec have sparked an outbreak of dengue fever in Brazil so severe that officials have had to renew a state of emergency declaring the situation to be a "biological disaster."
The GM mosquitoes were released by Oxitec under commercial approval by Brazil's regulatory commission CTNBio, which ignored evidence showing that the insects, branded as OX513, could intensify the spread of dengue fever. CTNBio's commission ultimately approved the GM mosquitoes anyway, which, as predicted, has caused a nightmarish situation that is possibly irreversible.
In the Brazilian towns where OX513 mosquitoes have been released, rates of dengue fever have spiked dramatically, prompting the decree of a state of emergency. According to reports, the decree was issued "due to the abnormal situation characterized as a biological disaster of dengue epidemic," reiterating what some CTNBio members had said from the start.
Prior to their approval, OX513 mosquitoes had been determined to potentially lead to higher rates of dengue fever. After eliminating the target species, warned experts, OX513 mosquitoes leave an "ecological niche" that could allow other invasive mosquito species to take their place, furthering the spread of dengue.
"The large-scale release of OX513A, altering the reproductive performance of the Aedes aegypti, can trigger a population explosion of other vectors, with implications for adaptive dengue virus mechanisms in epidemiological terms and consequences for public health," pointed out several CTNBio members opposed to OX513's approval in a recent paper to the commission.
"[T]he almost complete [suppression] of local populations of A. aegypti by the OX513A will possibly cause migration flows in local populations of A. albopictus, compromising the disease-reduction goal, for the simple fact that a new vector of the disease will occupy the ecological niche that was abruptly abandoned by the main competitor," it adds.
Despite these findings, Oxitec is still moving forward with plans to introduce OX513 mosquitoes into India, its next target market. British Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg is reportedly cozying up to Indian regulators in a bid to bring the GM mosquitoes to rural areas of the country that are stricken with dengue fever, even though methods of controlling the disease that do not involve GMOs already exist and have been shown to be effective.
One such method is Anti-Dengue Mosquito Trap technology developed by Filipino firm Maynilad Water Services, Inc. According to GMA News Online, Maynilad's traps are so effective that the company was recently awarded a Bronze Lion for Health and Wellness at the Lions Health Awards in Cannes, France.
"The commercial release of OX513A... presents relevant and irreversible risks for both health and environment, whose probability of occurrence ranges from high to moderate," concluded the report presented to CTNBio in opposition to the GM mosquito approach.
"We recommend the process should be put into diligence so it can be complemented, and that it should return for analysis in accordance with the guidelines to be established by CTNBio."