Zika Virus and Transgenic Mosquitoes: Potentials of a Public Health Tool
Keywords:African Philosophy, Bioethics, Dengue Fever, Ecocentrism, Environmental Ethics, Genetically Modified Mosquitoes, Holism, Malaria, WHO, Zika Virus.
AbstractWith transgenic mosquitoes now being deployed as a major solution to the pandemic Zika virus disease, more curious questions have arisen about this public health technology. This essay reviews the philosophical considerations that presaged the development, by WHO, of the genetically modified mosquitoes. It focuses more specifically on the inter-disciplinary approach in formulating the clinical trials process. While it is still early to determine the full merits of this health intervention tool, it is nonetheless timely to examine the rich vein of form that constitutes the clinical trial protocol. I argue that the steps it suggests should be a gold standard for all clinical trial procedures including those that use human subjects and those with both direct and indirect environmental implications. Also, the early signs portend that its application could indeed be widespread. For instance, malaria and dengue fever were the original targets, but now the development of transgenic mosquito technology is deemed a potent option in the fight against Zika virus disease. In addition, this clinical trial protocol has remarkably gone beyond the four pillars of principlism to recognize the possibility that a new technology (such as GMM), can have the potential to simultaneously impact human individuals, the community and the ecosystem in tandem. In “Guidance framework for testing of genetically modified mosquito,” the WHO has set an example that calls for emulation. With the right awareness, biomedical researchers, scholars, policy makers, and students stand to benefit immensely from this reformulated approach.
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