Zika Virus, Birth Defects, and Conspiracy Theories

Val Giddings February 18, 2016
February 18, 2016

The mosquito responsible for dengue, yellow fever, and chikungunya is now spreading a new virus, Zika. This new disease is sweeping the Americas and apparently causing an epidemic of severe birth defects. With no basis whatsoever, activists and innovation opponents are blaming GM mosquito field trials and pesticides, writes Val Giddings in Innovation Files. But the data show clearly that the GM mosquitoes reduce the disease carrying mosquito populations by 90 percent, and the pesticides used target features unique to insects. They are, in fact, so safe that the World Health Organization is urging their use be scaled up as widely and rapidly as possible.