Although the world is focused on the coronavirus pandemic as of now, there are still many threats to our health. Among those are dengue fever and the Zika virus that people get from a particular species of mosquitoes.

Outbreaks of these diseases often happen during rainy months as mosquitoes are more likely to thrive and reproduce.

Combating Dengue and Zika Virus and Avoiding Outbreaks

To tackle the dengue and Zika virus and avoid outbreaks during the COVID-19 pandemic or in the future, a group of researchers is planning to release genetically modified Aedes aegypti mosquitoes that carry a certain protein that if passed down to a female offspring, its chances of survival will significantly decrease.

If their population lessens, there are also fewer chances of an outbreak, and the less likely people would be bitten and could acquire either Zika, dengue fever, and other diseases that can be acquired from these mosquitoes.

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Oxitec is Releasing 750M Genetically Modified Mosquitoes

According to a report by The Guardian, the research is headed by Oxitec, a British biotech company.

The company will be releasing a total of 750 million genetically modified mosquitoes in two areas.

They are targeting Florida and Texas as test sites for these special insects and have been given the go signal from the state regulator despite the objections of many environmentalists who are against the experiment.

Last month, the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) had already approved the plan to release the mosquitoes in the Florida Keys at the southern part of the state.

Additionally, the agency has also given the go signal for another trial related to these mosquitoes that will happen next year, but in the state of Texas, including Houston--one of its biggest cities.

According to the researchers, they will only be releasing male mosquitoes to mate with the female insects.

Since male mosquitoes don't bite people, the experiment should not pose any threat to our health, but environmentalists and other scientists have expressed their distaste for the research.

In fact, certain groups, including Friends of the Earth, Center for Food Safety, and the International Center for Technology Assessment, have already filed a notice of intent to sue against the EPA.

EPA is Getting Sued After Approving the Plan

According to a report by The Hill, the groups believe that the agency has failed to consult wildlife agencies, therefore violating the law.

Policy director of the International Center for Technology Assessment, Jaydee Hanson, even called the study a "Jurassic Park experiment" and explained that they don't know the full risks of the research as they have "refused to seriously analyze environmental risks."

It also seems like the state of Florida isn't exactly onboard EPA's decision either.

"People here in Florida do not consent to the genetically engineered mosquitoes or to being human experiments," said Barry Way, the executive director of the Florida Keys Environmental Coalition.

EPA has been approached to comment about the notice of intent to sue, but they refused to do so.

Oxitec's release of these genetically modified mosquitoes will start this summer.

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