Bill Gates Funded World Mosquito Breeding Program Is Engaging In Gain-Of-Function Research

The organization breeds 30 million mosquitoes a week — all for the purpose of lowering viral infections...

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Filler

illionaire Bill Gates funds the world’s largest mosquito factory in Medellín, Colombia — which is part of the World Mosquito Program — which releases “thousands” of genetically altered mosquitoes each week using gelatin capsules, drones and motorcycles.

The World Mosquito Program’s goal is “to protect the global community from mosquito-borne diseases such as dengue, Zika, yellow fever, and chikungunya.” 

The most deadly of those diseases, dengue fever, infects an estimated 400 million people, with 40,000 fatal cases per year. However, the World Health Organization notes that “a vast majority of cases are asymptomatic or mild and self-managed, and hence the actual numbers of dengue cases are under-reported.”

The World Mosquito Program releases these mosquitoes in 11 different countries, including Brazil, Colombia, Mexico and Australia.  

Scott O’Neill, the CEO of the World Mosquito Program, says that the program focuses on mosquitoes such as Aedes aegypti, which thrives “in discarded waste and plastic containers,” has a “strong resistance to pesticides” and “loves big cities and has spread across the world’s tropical and subtropical diseases.”

O’Neill says that the World Mosquito Program is using a bacteria called Wolbachia to prevent the spread of these viruses.

“What makes Wolbachia a medical miracle is the fact that when it is introduced to Aedes aegypti, it effectively blocks  the capacity of many of the viruses that can make people sick from growing in the mosquito,” said O’Neill, according to Gates Philanthropy Partners. “If the viruses can’t replicate, they can’t be transmitted to humans.”

According to an article published by the Lancet, the Wolbachia bacterium also controls mosquito populations, depending on the species type.

“If a male mosquito infected with wolbachia mates with an uninfected female, the eggs will not hatch,” author Talha Burki writes. “If an infected female mates with an uninfected male, the offspring will be infected, as will be the case if both parents are infected.” 

Burki also notes that it only takes a few generations for domestic mosquitoes to be contaminated by the bacteria. 

In America, World Mosquito Program’s sister program, Oxitec, has also been releasing altered mosquitoes, but instead of using the Wolbachia bacterium, Oxitec genetically modifies its mosquitoes. 

“The self-limiting gene is at the heart of the Oxitec method of pest control and is tuned to work optimally in each target species,” Oxitec’s website states. “When our Friendly™ males are released and reproduce with pest females, their offspring inherit a copy of the self-limiting gene.”

According to the website, protein overproduction “disrupts the insect’s normal development and ability to survive to adulthood.”

Smithsonian magazine daily correspondent Margaret Osborne noted back in March of 2022 that pilot groups of these mosquitoes had already been released in the Florida Keys and that even larger groups would be released on the U.S. mainland. 

“The Environmental Protection Agency has cleared the release of 2.4 billion genetically-modified mosquitoes in California and Florida,” Osborne writes. 

However, Florida natives have expressed concern about the release of genetically modified mosquitoes, especially ones that carry a lethal, self-destructive gene, according to Nature reporter Emily Waltz. 

“Opposition to the Florida field trial has been fierce from some residents in the Keys,” Waltz writes.“Worried about being bitten by the mosquitoes or that the insects will disrupt the Florida ecosystem — and generally unhappy about being chosen as a test site — some have threatened to derail the experiments by spraying insecticides near the release points.”

Some individuals, including Dana Perls, senior food and technology campaigner for Friends of the Earth, have expressed their concern with genetically modifying mosquitoes. 

“We must ensure that corporations and governments (particularly militaries) are not developing gene drives and cannot misuse this technology in ways that could have profound ecological, health, or socio-economic impacts,” Perls writes. “There must be strict regulations on lab research, especially given the risk of accidental escape of gene drive organisms, even from high security labs.”

Other individuals, such as presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr., doubt the intentions of Gates’ efforts. 

“Should Bill Gates be releasing 30 million genetically modified mosquitoes into the wild?” Kennedy tweeted. “What could possibly go wrong?”

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