Zika: WHO supports trial of genetically modified mosquitos to combat virus

The World Health Organization has released a strategy for combating Zika.

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The Independent Online

The World Health Organization has said that it supports trials of genetically modified mosquitos in an effort to combat the Zika virus, which has created panic as it spreads.

In a statement on its website, the WHO said it hopes to "boost the use of both old and new approaches to mosquito control as the most immediate line of defence."

The first trials of the genetically altered mosquitos to fight Zika have been happening in the Cayman Islands and in Brazil. These tests were done by Oxitec, the British subsidiary of Intrexon, according to the BBC.

In these trials, the mosquitos have been genetically modified so that their offspring will die before maturation and won't be able to reproduce. Some have warned that this technique could result in eliminating a species, which could have negative results.

The WHO has declared Zika to be a global emergency. The breakout has been linked to an spike in microcephaly in Brazil, where babies are being born with deformed heads and brain damage. El Salvador went as far as to recommend that women don't have babies for two years, while the disease is fought.

No definitive causation has been established between Zika and microcephaly, though scientists believe Zika to be the cause.

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