In a matter of weeks, the Zika virus has gone from being a virtually unknown phenomenon to a “Public Health Emergency of International Concern.” And for good reason: The virus – for which there is no treatment – is spreading quickly through the Americas, carried by the Aedes aegypti mosquito.
Human development, climate change, and droughts will only make mosquitos more widespread, allowing them to carry diseases like dengue and malaria to new places. Around the world, researchers are trying to genetically engineer mosquitoes so that they can’t transmit dangerous viruses. But anyone who has seen Jurassic Park knows that a little change to the ecosystem can have serious effects. What might be the consequences of messing with the world’s deadliest animal? Are there other diseases that we may want to engineer away? If so, how should we proceed?
On Tuesday, Feb. 23, join Future Tense for a lunchtime conversation on Zika as a case study in potential technical solutions to deadly diseases. Lunch will be served.