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Editorial, Opinion Pieces Discuss Zika Virus Prevention Strategies, Ethics Of Mosquito Eradication

Washington Post: The Zika threat
Editorial Board

“…The spread of a new or unusual disease … raises an important challenge to biomedical researchers. There’s been a hope that gains in genomics and other disciplines could lead to a rapid-response mechanism for fighting such threats. … It is not easy to bend the rules of nature and create effective vaccines and drugs quickly. But the arrival of Zika should remind us that basic and applied research to this end is well worth the investment” (1/30).

Reuters: Why you can’t just wipe out mosquitoes to get rid of the Zika virus
Helen Coster, senior editor at Reuters

“…[R]ather than focus efforts on killing off all mosquitoes, R&D funding directed at vaccines, treatment, and other interventions is likely to produce greater returns. On Tuesday President Barack Obama called for the rapid development of tests, vaccines, and treatment to fight Zika … Now is the time to act. It’s fine to spare the mosquitoes — as long as we invest in sparing human lives as well” (2/1).

Slate: Let’s Kill All the Mosquitoes
Daniel Engber, columnist at Slate

“…Whatever its unintended consequences (and there are always unintended consequences), the elimination of mosquitoes would save billions of human lives and trillions of dollars, in the decades to come. It would end untold suffering among the world’s poorest people. And that’s just the most extreme scenario. … If we got rid of these disgusting critters, wouldn’t everyone be better off?…” (1/29).

Foreign Policy: The Zika Virus Isn’t Just an Epidemic. It’s Here to Stay.
Laurie Garrett, senior fellow for global health at the Council on Foreign Relations

“…[P]ublic health leaders and politicians had better brace for a very long haul on Zika. The virus will hide, infecting a range of insects, perhaps monkeys, even birds. And it will return in seasonal cycles, as have other mosquito-carried viruses, such as yellow fever, West Nile virus, chikungunya, and dengue. Because so many ‘foreign’ viruses carried by mosquitoes are now spreading across the Western Hemisphere at the same time, there will be misdiagnosis, mystery, and perhaps acute illnesses due to co-infections. Until we have an effective vaccine and have executed mammoth immunization campaigns in all of the nations of the Americas, Zika will haunt us, sicken some of us, and endanger our babies” (1/28).

Forbes: Mosquito Wars Update: Would You Choose GMO ‘Mutants,’ Pesticides, Dengue, Or Zika Viruses?
Judy Stone, infectious disease specialist and columnist

“…There are no vaccines or effective treatments for Zika, chikungunya, or dengue, and care is supportive. The WHO recommends efforts to control the mosquito vector that spreads the disease. … I, and many other scientists, prefer the use of targeted interventions with Wolbachia or Oxitec’s genetically modified mosquitoes, to the alternatives of indiscriminately harmful pesticides or widespread, painful, and debilitating infections of dengue, chikungunya, yellow fever, and now Zika” (2/1).

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