Govt looks up to Chinese sterile mosquito

Govt looks up to Chinese sterile mosquito

The Delhi government is mulling the possibility of introducing genetically modified aedes aegypti mosquito to fight the deadly fever in “Chinese style”. A similar experiment is already underway in a city in Maharashtra.

With Delhi registering a spurt of dengue cases over the past few weeks, the AAP government is studying the practicability of the Chinese-devised way of using sterile mosquitoes to combat dengue.

“A team has been carved out of the ruling party to look into the experiment done by China by introducing sterile mosquitoes to check population of aedes mosquitoes. They are also exploring other possibilities to arrest the spread of the deadly disease (dengue),” said a close aide of Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal. “We are studying the practicality of such GM mosquitoes,” he added. The AAP government is insisting on emulating the Chinese model for genetically-modified male mosquitoes that cannot reproduce and add to the mosquito population as they believe that would be ideal for Asian conditions.

On why the Chinese model as there are other countries that are using GM mosquitoes to curb vector-borne diseases, the official said, “Because China is our neighbouring country and the conditions there are similar to that of India.”

Officials of the Delhi government said, if needed, they would also cooperate with the central government’s research institutes for the public-oriented task. “If needed, the government may also share the financial burden of the project,” said a senior official.
A similar experiment on using British technology successfully used in Brazil to check aedes population and there are test being conducted on the same lines at present in Jalna in Maharashtra.

Experts said that if GM male mosquitoes were introduced in a particular zone in significant number, the impact in terms of reduction of population of the killer mosquitoes start emerging in a reasonably short period as the average life span of the aedes aegypti is about two weeks.

Last month, China had released genetically modified mosquitoes in a small island Guangzhou to control dengue. In 2014, China had the worst dengue outbreaks in 20 years recording some 50,000 cases.
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