May 062016
 

zica

by John Prosser…….

While the mainstream media successfully whipped most of the country into a Zika-fearing panic, I smelled a rat and started researching. “Always follow the money.” Pesticide peddlers and Oxitec all stand to make a fortune from fear of mosquitoes that have not been found responsible for a single Zika infection in the continental U.S. It is my opinion that release of Oxitec’s genetically modified mosquitoes in Key Haven may be a very grave mistake. The proponents of GMO anything are quick to call skeptics “science-deniers” and equate them to “flat-earthers.” Mocking those who do not share your view is a grade school clique tactic designed to quell expression of disagreement from others, lest they also be mocked. It works much of the time, especially with the simple-minded, so some never abandon the tactic. Most times the science-believers learned all of their “science” from a glossy brochure or a TV talking-head. Some of us prefer to do our own research, consider all of the information, think for ourselves, and form our own conclusions. The risk of possible ridicule from those of closed mind is unimportant.

Let’s objectively look at the science of these GMO “Frankenskeeters” from all angles instead of just the selected tidbits of science presented by a giant corporation that stands to make millions of dollars, year after year, if they can sell this experiment. You may know that the small British firm Oxitec was bought by Intrexon- the same multi-billion dollar American biotech firm that has been successfully acquiring FDA approval of other controversial GMO creatures (e.g., Aquadvantage GMO salmon), against the protests of concerned citizens and the scientific facts of unbiased researchers who are not on the payroll of the GMO creators.

There is currently a lawsuit against Johnson & Johnson, the past head of FDA (Margaret Hamburg), and her husband for conspiring to hide the extremely serious risks (like snapped tendons) of the antibiotic Levaquin . The plaintiffs found that the FDA head was placed by Obama under pressure from Hillary Clinton who has received $2 million in contributions from Hamburg’s husband’s stock management company (Renaissance) that holds $500 million of J&J stock. J&J markets Levaquin. The point of this apparent departure from topic? If you research closely, I think you will conclude that FDA approval is “for sale” and therefore unreliable. So an FDA approval is really not much assurance of anything, and their “FONSI” (Finding of No Significant Impact) for Oxitec’s genetically engineered creation is worthless. A big corporation cares only about profit. Intrex and Oxitec market mosquitoes the same way Dow Chemical markets pesticides- any way it can, and truth be damned. Oxitec’s operations have never been fully above board. They released 3.3 million GMO mosquitoes in the Cayman Islands in 2009-2010 without consulting the public and with no independent oversight. See the download link under the second bullet for Gene Watch’s long list of scofflaw actions by Oxitec along with other other eye-opening information.

This is a lengthy article, but there is a lot of ground to cover. Briefly covering each of the key points to consider are the following bullet paragraphs, and some links will follow for those that wish to read more:

  • Although the Oxitec mosquito release in Brazil reportedly cut the target natural mosquito population in the vicinity to 10% (according to unverified Oxitec claims), the cases of mosquito-borne diseases skyrocketed in that same area! A 190% increase of Dengue Fever was observed the first year (2013). Dengue was the original target, before Zika became an issue. By April of 2015, the Brazilian Ministry of Health had registered an increase of Dengue of more than twofold compared to that of 2014. The Washington Post reported on Feb. 12, 2016 that Brazil reported a nearly 50% jump in Dengue Fever over a 3 week period in January 2016. Does one not base success on achieving the ultimate goal? The ultimate goal was disease reduction and GMO mosquitoes failed horrifically and continue to fail horrifically.
  • To be effective, the GMO mosquitoes must vastly outnumber the natural population. Consider also that for GMO mosquitoes to work, Mosquito Control will have to cease spraying in the experiment vicinity. Most people equate no spray with increased mosquito population. The Oxitec website says for the Florida Keys project, “We need to be able to rear millions of males per week…” To protect 5,600 people in the Brazil test area, Oxitec released 3 to 4 million mosquitoes per month. In the Cayman Islands, it required 2.8 million Oxitec mosquitoes per week to suppress a natural population of 20,000 mosquitoes (about 10,000 biting females). That is 140 times the bugs. With the huge increase in overall mosquito population, reports from the experimental area in Brazil say that one cannot talk without swallowing mosquitoes. Knowing that most don’t bite must be small comfort for those residents. Also, breeding and distributing even more mosquitoes than Mother Nature does can get expensive fast. In Piracicaba, Brazil, officials say they expect to spend more per year for GMO mosquitoes than they now spend for all sprays, larvicides, and costs like sick leave. Note that the Oxitect solution only reduces one species of the several resident species that current methods reduce. So the other species can flourish unabated. https://www.dropbox.com/s/z0bd92486goyvlt/Oxitec_GWbrief_Mar15.pdf?dl=0
  • The epicenter of the Brazilian Zika epidemic “just happens” to coincide with the Oxitec trial release area for Dengue. Searchers for conspiracies are rejoicing. Although an intentional Zika epidemic is certainly not impossible, there are other theories that do not involve malicious intent. But mere coincidence seems extremely unlikely. This site has maps showing the release area and Zika cases: http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2016-01-29/zika-outbreak-epicenter-same-area-genetically-modified-mosquitoes-released-2015
  • Although Oxitec openly admits that up to 5% of their Frankenskeeters do not die-off, an internal document reveals that about 15% may survive the “fatal” gene defect. Neither the males nor the females are sterile. Do some quick math: Only 5% surviving out of only one million mosquitoes equals 50,000 fertile surviving Frankenskeeters per week. (Not in my back yard, thanks.)
  • The gene defect is inactivated by trace amounts of the very common antibiotic tetracycline. This is an antibiotic routinely given to farm animals whether they are sick or not, both as a precaution and to aid in weight gain. Tetracycline is what Oxitec feeds the larvae to create breeders from their Frankenskeeters that would otherwise die off. Tetracycline is also found in wastewater and is an especially persistent antibiotic. Cat food made with factory-farmed chicken was found to contain enough tetracycline to switch off the “kill gene”.
  • If the natural population of the target species is decimated, then the Frankenskeeter survivors may become the primary breeders, replacing the natural population with one that may be more capable of successfully carrying certain diseases. Some theorize that is why Zika became an epidemic in Brazil whereas it did not develop in other areas known to have some Zika. Another possibility is that a different species of mosquito may proliferate to fill the population gap. The aggressive Asian Tiger mosquito is a prime candidate, and it is known to carry all the diseases of the targeted Aedes egypti mosquito and more- like West Nile Virus.
  • Zika is also sexually transmitted. It may be that mosquitoes are not the primary vector of concern in the Keys. First, a mosquito must find a Zika-infected person or other animal to puncture and suck up some virus. They are not born as carriers. The Aedes egypti mosquito is reported to only fly about 400 meters, but an infected traveler can fly commercially all over the world. One could be landing at an airport near you right now. Although Zika is reported by the CDC to only survive about a week in human blood, it has been shown to survive at least 2 weeks in semen. Zika viral fragments by different test methods have been found at over 2 months in semen. In a publication dated April 28, 2016, the CDC states that no Zika has been transmitted by mosquitoes in the continental U.S., but 388 traveler Zika cases were reported and 8 cases of Zika were transmitted via sex. http://www.cdc.gov/zika/pdfs/zika-key-messages.pdf
  • Zika may not actually be the cause of the microcephaly epidemic. Zika and microcephaly numbers have risen together, so it is very reasonable to assume a link, just as it is reasonable to assume a link between Oxitec Mosquitoes and Zika, However, it has not been conclusively proven. The CDC website discussing the report that concluded a link says, ”The report notes that no single piece of evidence provides conclusive proof that Zika virus infection is a cause of microcephaly and other fetal brain defects. Rather, increasing evidence from a number of recently published studies and a careful evaluation using established scientific criteria supports the authors’ conclusions.”  Some doubts arise because microcephaly and similar defects are not normally associated with that class of virus. However, microcephaly is well linked to certain pesticides, and Brazil is an intensive pesticide user, with many of their pesticides banned in most of the world. They even add a pesticide to their drinking water! The Wall Street Journal reported on February 15, 2016 that Brazil is halting the use of a larvacide that an Argentine doctors’ group blames for the microcephaly epidemic. The same article states that only 41 microcephaly cases out of about 5,000 have been conclusively linked to Zika.
    http://www.wsj.com/articles/brazil-state-bans-pesticide-after-zika-claim-1455584596
  • Genetically engineered creatures are very unlike cross-pollination hybrids. They are indeed a new life form. The Oxitec Frankenskeeter “OX513A” proposed to be released in Key Haven was created using gene fragments from the Herpes Simplex virus, E.Coli bacteria, cabbage, and coral. It fluoresces (glows in the dark) under specific wavelengths of light. The fluorescence is likely from the coral genetic fragment, as they have previously cloned a red fluorescent protein commercially available as DsRed derived from the Indo pacific reef coral Discosoma sp. The thought occurs: Since a virulent virus and bacteria were used in its creation, does this make the OX513A a better carrier for the diseases it was hoped to eradicate?
  • It is alleged that FDA approval of a GMO mosquito release is beyond their legal authority without submission and formal approval of a “New Animal Drug Application” (NADA) as required by the “Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act” (FDCA). An excellent letter was sent to the FDA by the organization Food & Water Watch. The letter also addresses some other risks and concerns. You can read the letter complete with legal citations at either of these links:

https://www.dropbox.com/s/2bdcb1q57m7fbvk/letter_to_fda_on_ge_mosquito.pdf?dl=0
https://www.indybay.org/uploads/2015/02/12/letter_to_fda_on_ge_mosquito.pdf

Regardless of validity or not, the accusations of intentional disease propagation have deep roots that have nothing to do with tinfoil hats. Disease-carrying mosquito swarms have been intentionally dropped on Key West before. Thanks to a 1975 Congressional Investigation into CIA activities, we know that the U.S. Army Chemical Corps Biological Laboratory dropped 600,000 Dengue-carrying mosquitoes in 1956 on Avon Park, FL. More were dropped continuing through 1958 on Panama City Beach, and Key West Florida as part of biological weapons testing on unsuspecting U.S. citizens. The experiment was code named “Operation Drop Kick”. Look it up. Do you remember that short Dengue outbreak in the Keys 2009-2010? Dengue had been non-existent in the Keys for decades. RNA sequencing by CDC’s Jorge Munoz-Jordan determined that the Dengue in the Keys was a unique strain unrelated to Dengue in mainland Florida, Central America or the Caribbean. So where did it come from? Some wondered if Fort Detrick was experimenting in the Keys again. U.S. Public Law 95-79 authorizes the Defense Department to conduct chemical and biological testing on civilian populations. So while it may be extremely unlikely, it is not impossible that the intention is to have Key Haven residents begging for the weekly release of millions of genetically engineered mosquitoes on them as willing experimental subjects for fear of a disease that is presently non-existent in the geographical area. It is not something you want to believe, but the U.S. has a long, very sordid history of unethical human experimentation of which most people know little. Wikipedia compiled a list of some that are sure to make you cringe:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Unethical_human_experimentation_in_the_United_States
and try http://whatreallyhappened.com/WRHARTICLES/biowar.html

Summarizing, we know that there have been no Zika infections from mosquitoes in the entire continental U.S., Zika only remains viable in human blood and available to infect a mosquito for about a week, places where Oxitec’s Frankenskeeters have been used have experienced dramatically increased disease, Oxitec can only target one species of mosquito (leaving the others free to proliferate), and the quantity of mosquitoes in Key Haven will be intolerable. So why exactly does Mosquito Control think that GMO mosquitoes are such a great idea? My most charitable best guess is that Oxitec must have one helluva good salesman. Or…?

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 May 6, 2016  Posted by at 1:02 am ~ Opinion ~, Editorial, Issue #165  Add comments

  3 Responses to “GMO Mosquitoes: Why Are They Even Considered?”

  1. Looking at the bright side of many million more mosquitoes in Key Haven, there may be some very posh affordable rentals available there!

    If it is feasible to breed millions of mosquitoes per week and hand sort them for sex, then it should be feasible to breed thousands of dragonflies without any need to sort, and they can eat all species of mosquito proportional to their abundance.

    The target mosquito species of the GMO scheme has been successfully controlled elsewhere by artificially infecting some with Wolbachia . It is basically a mosquito STD that spreads rapidly and destroys aedes egypti’s ability to mate. That makes a lot more sense than Oxitec’s crazy proposal. Asian tigers will not be affected by either method.

  2. The Keynoter has an article in it where Sen. Nelson supports the GMO mosquito release. The first comment to the article includes a link to this one. There were quite a few comments to that article including some very informative ones.

    I predict that the referendum in Key Haven will say”Hell No!”, whereupon they will pick a different location and dump mosquitoes with no referendum. A friend in Cudjoe Gardens requested a spray truck due to many bites and was told that the budget did not allow for one because the money was going to GMO mosquito trials. I heard the same story from someone on Stock Iisland. I thought the trial was a free demonstration by Oxitec to show how bloody effective their new creatures are. I guess not. In any event, they have set up breeding facilities in Marathon and it appears to be a “done deal” for somewhere in the Keys.
    Do check the comments below the Keynoter article. http://www.keysnet.com/2016/05/07/508300/florida-senator-nelson-release.html

  3. Phil Goodman is one of our 5 elected Mosquito Control Board members. He has swayed a majority of the Board to cut mosquito control efforts on the ground way back, to save money. Those efforts mostly are mosquito inspectors walking though local neighborhoods looking for standing fresh water in which Aedes Aegypti mosquitoes breed. Standing water caused by both rain and irrigation. As a result, according to Board member Steve Smith, with whom I spoke a good while a couple of weeks ago, mosquitoes have been making a comeback in Key West, especially, where Aedes mosquitoes like to hang out in the city’s widespread tree canopy, where they are hard to get at with aerial sprays. Goodman is one of 3 Mosquito Control Board members who pushed hard for Key Haven to have a GMO Aedes release/test. Key Haven is tiny. It is surrounded by larger islands with Aedes populations. When I talked with Steve Smith, he said, as yet, there was no plan to discontinue other mosquito control methods during the Key Haven test, if the Key Haven residents voted Yes in the upcoming referendum. Smith agreed with me, if the other mosquito control methods were not discontinued, the test would be meaningless. He said he was going to take that up with the Mosquito Control Board, and get them to explain to the Key Haven voters before the referendum that they will only have GMO Aedes protecting them, if they approve the referendum. So far, I have heard nothing about the Mosquito Control Board taking that up among themselves, or telling the Key Haven residents they will get no other form of Mosquito Control during the duration of a GMO Aedes test, which Smith told me probably would run close to 2 years.