For the most part news about the current situation with the spread of the Zika virus is not incredibly positive. However, Bill Gates developed some far out technology that might just be the answer to our prayers, and he is now helping countries like Brazil and Columbia use it to fight the mosquitos spreading the virus.
The method Bill Gates developed to fight mosquitos is pretty astounding, sounding more like science fiction that cold hard science. His method actually takes mosquitos from the wild and infects them with bacteria that prevents them from being able to ever spread the Zika virus to people again. They then release these infected mosquitos back out into the wild to spread the bacteria to all the other wild mosquitos. While it may seem counterintuitive to actually put more mosquitos into our environment in order to stop them from spreading the virus, it is truly genius.
The “good” mosquitos these scientists are releasing back into the wild carry the Wolbachia bacterium, which keeps the Zika virus from flourishing inside the mosquito. So far tests have shown that the bacteria spreads very fast throughout the mosquito population once these infected mosquitos are released, the entire population being infected within a few weeks and can stay infected for decades. This means that this method would wipe out the spread of this disease for many years to come after only releasing the mosquitos once. It’s kind of like a new mosquito vaccine. Gates is now giving major funding as well as his time and energy to continuing to develop this new method of Zika pest control. What’s even more exciting is that this method may also help stop mosquitos from spreading many other viruses such as dengue fever and malaria.
Would you welcome this new method of fighting against mosquitos spreading diseases such as the Zika virus? Would you be willing to release these genetically modified mosquitos into your backyard?