Republicans accuse Bill Gates of Releasing GMO Mosquitoes After Malaria Cases Are Reported in 20 years in Florida and Texas KossyDerrickBlog KossyDerrickEnt

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Wednesday, June 28, 2023

Republicans accuse Bill Gates of Releasing GMO Mosquitoes After Malaria Cases Are Reported in 20 years in Florida and Texas

Republicans are saying Bill Gates of Released GMO Mosquitoes After Malaria Cases Are Reported in 20 years in Florida and Texas.

Malaria, a potentially deadly disease caused by a mosquito-borne parasite, is making inroads into the US.

Five new cases of malaria — one in Texas and four in Florida — are alarming officials because they were locally acquired, meaning a mosquito in the US was carrying the parasite. Snopes readers asked our team to dig deeper into the project and its rumored funding. In short, we found that the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation did award grants to biotech company Oxitec for its work to develop a new strain of genetically modified mosquitoes nicknamed "Friendly™" to help reduce the spread of malaria. In April 2021, it was announced that approximately 150,000 mosquitos would be released across six locations in Florida.

That hasn’t happened since 2003 in Palm Beach County, Florida, according to the Centers for Disease and Prevention.

Almost all cases of malaria now seen in the US are from people who traveled outside the country, where they were exposed to disease-carrying mosquitoes. Bill Gates is not himself releasing mosquitoes into the wild. However, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation did award grants that funded biotech company Oxitec's work to develop genetically modified mosquitoes that may help reduce the spread of malaria and other mosquito-borne diseases in certain locations around the world. In April 2021, it was announced that Oxitec would release approximately 150,000 mosquitoes across six locations in Florida. However, the company told Snopes that this particular project was not funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

A multi-year research project to genetically modify Aedes aegypti, a mosquito species that is known to carry and transmit infectious diseases to humans, was slated to move from the lab to the fields of Texas and Florida in mid-2021. Under the project, thousands of A. aegypti were altered to make their reproduction more difficult, thus slowing and eventually preventing the spread of mosquito-borne illnesses like Zika, and dengue fever. But when the internet caught wind that Bill Gates may have been behind the project, posts circulated on social media that questioned the real motivation behind the project. But before we dig too much deeper into Oxitec's most recent project, it is important to note that this is not the first endeavor to genetically modify A. aegypti mosquitoes and subsequently release them into the wild. Researchers have been exploring this concept for more than a decade. In 2010, releases of altered males in the Cayman Islands led to an 80% suppression rate, and in 2011, 2012 and again in 2015, Oxitec released earlier generations of their genetically modified mosquitoes in areas of Brazil — all research that was described in the scientific journal PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases. 

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