Bill Gates & The US Military Funded Mosquito Vaccine Delivery Research

In Other Words Mosquitoes That Could Vaccinate You!

Bill Gates and Mosquitoe picture

This Is Concerning In Light of A Bill Gates Backed Company Ready To Release Genetically Modified Mosquitoes.

Just in case 2020 wasn’t crazy enough, the Environmental Protection Agency recently announced rolled back regulations for companies due to the coronavirus outbreak, paving the way for companies to skirt environmental laws and regulations during this declared crisis.

So it should come as no surprise that Oxitec, a biotech company funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is moving forward with a failed 2018 agenda to release genetically modified mosquitoes into Florida and Texas.

In times of crisis and rolled back regulation, we must ask the question, who is ensuring public safety? This report also explores research funded by the Gates Foundation in addition to the DoD and the NIH into mosquito-delivered vaccines.

This summer, for the first time, genetically modified mosquitoes could be released in the U.S.

bioethicists
On May 1, 2020, the company Oxitec received an experimental use permit from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to release millions of GM mosquitoes (labeled by Oxitec as OX5034) every week over the next two years in Florida and Texas. Females of this mosquito species, Aedes aegypti, transmit dengue, chikungunya, yellow fever and Zika viruses. When these lab-bred GM males are released and mate with wild females, their female offspring die. Continual, large-scale releases of these OX5034 GM males should eventually cause the temporary collapse of a wild population.

However, as vector biologists, geneticists, policy experts and bioethicists, we are concerned that current government oversight and scientific evaluation of GM mosquitoes do not ensure their responsible deployment.

Oxford-based genetic engineering firm Oxitec has announced a partnership with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to develop a new strain of mosquitoes to combat the spread of malaria.

mosquito picture
The project will build on Oxitec’s successful deployment of a self-limiting mosquito strain designed to reduce the spread of dengue, Zika, and other diseases and apply the technology to Anopheles mosquitoes that spread malaria in endemic regions in the Americas, eastern Africa, and South Asia. A $4.1 million grant from the foundation will fund the development of a strain of Anopheles albimanus males with a self-limiting gene designed to ensure that, when they mate with wild females, only their male offspring survive into adulthood. Since only female mosquitoes bite, deploying genetically engineered males as part of a vector-control program could dramatically reduce the wild population of mosquitoes that can transmit malaria.

Researchers Turn Mosquitoes Into Flying Vaccinators

A group by led by molecular geneticist Shigeto Yoshida of Jichi Medical University in Tochigi, Japan, identified a region in the genome of Anopheles stephensi-a malaria mosquito-called a promoter that turns on genes only in the insects' saliva. To this promoter they attached SP15, a candidate vaccine against leishmaniasis, a parasitic disease spread by sand flies that can cause skin sores and organ damage. Sure enough, the mosquitoes produced SP15 in their saliva, the team reports in the current issue of Insect Molecular Biology. And when the insects were allowed to feast on mice, the mice developed antibodies against SP15.

Antibody levels weren't very high, and the team has yet to test whether they protect the rodents against the disease. (Only very few labs have the facilities for so-called challenge studies with that disease, says Yoshida.) In the experiment, mice were bitten some 1500 times on average; that may seem very high, but studies show that in places where malaria is rampant, people get bitten more than 100 times a night, Yoshida points out. In the meantime, the group has also made mosquitoes produce a candidate malaria vaccine.

researchers

Other researchers are wowed by the achievement. "The science is really beautiful," says Jesus Valenzuela of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases in Bethesda, Maryland, who developed the SP15 vaccine. David O'Brochta, an insect molecular geneticist at the University of Maryland, College Park, calls it "a fascinating proof of concept."

So why won't it fly? There's a huge variation in the number of mosquito bites one person received compared with the next, so people exposed to the transgenic mosquitoes would get vastly different doses of the vaccine; it would be a bit like giving some people one measles jab and others 500 of them. No regulatory agency would sign off on that, says molecular biologist Robert Sinden of Imperial College London. Releasing the mosquitoes would also mean vaccinating people without their informed consent, an ethical no-no. Yoshida concedes that the mosquito would be "unacceptable" as a human vaccine-delivery mechanism.

However, flying vaccinators-or "flying syringes" as some have dubbed them -may have potential in fighting animal disease, says O'Brochta. Animals don't need to give their consent, and the variable dosage would be less of a concern.

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