by John Norris, MD…….
Vote NO to the GM mosquito.
Three dozen Key Haven, Florida area physicians have petitioned for the adult-to-be-released genetically modified (GM) mosquitoes to be cultured for resistant bacteria before any release. The issue of unintended promotion of bacteria resistance through the GM creation process has sparked at least one political campaign to demand more information related to 3rd party safety data. The World Health Organization points out that 700000 men women and children will die each year from resistant germs. The company states it does not need comply with cheap fast cultures as the FDA has stated the use of the antibiotic tetracycline as the death gene neutralizing factor has negligible risk of bacteria ‘acquiring’ resistance. The physicians demonstrate the local hospital’s antibiotogram demonstrating a 9% tetracycline resistance in local MRSA alone. They state bacteria won’t ‘acquire’ resistance but the present resistance on the islands will be promoted in the company called ‘mosquito factory’. These physicians simply ask, show us you have not created a new means of spreading resistant bacteria. Spread mechanism being the release of over 14,000,000 GM mosquitoes over two small island streets during a 22 month experiment. GM mosquitoes that are intended to assist in mosquito control by getting into people’s homes where chemicals and traditional control methods do not adequately reach.
The physician’s petition continues to ask for cooperation from the company with nasal swab studies to assess pre and post release bacterial resistance. This would be voluntary for Key Haven residents. The goal is to follow any change in bacterial resistances to tetracycline related to the release. Researchers at Rutgers-New Jersey Medical School have agreed to DNA fingerprint any tetracycline resistances found on the GM mosquitoes tested, in the prerelease environment, in the post release environment and if Key Haven residents develop infections that demonstrate resistance to tetracycline. The specific organism to be thus evaluated is MRSA as that organism is a significant disease burden on the test islands, as we have resistance data in this organism from the single local hospital and as we have the offer to DNA finger print this organisms resistance from respected scientists. MRSA would be the canary in the coal mine.
Why is the company refusing this local physician request? Why do they answer our concerns with a large expenditure to hire a marketing company and not run cheap fast cultures? The community was so vocal in opposition to release that a non binding referendum pends on whether or not to allow the release as part of the November 8th voting ballot. Local physician concerns are related to the burden of the diseases they historically treat. The concern that the process creating these GM mosquitoes may have discovered a new way of making the mosquito more dangerous to human and animal health. The concern is not genetic modification. It is hoped the GM mosquito outperforms all expectations. The concern is the result of how the chef made the GM soup. This is not well covered in the article.
I am a local Internal Medicine physician practicing for 12 years in the Key Haven area. A number of the physicians signing the petition as well as myself live in the Key Haven community. The experiment area population are our patients, friends and neighbors. My wife is the candidate running for the Florida Keys Mosquito Control District Board that had her candidacy partially originate from the inferred lack of cooperation from the company. No local physician is receiving support related to this petition to my knowledge. If the board chooses to release without pressing for answers to our concerns, we will still be here for our patients 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
John Norris MD