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Oxitec Fights Zika Virus With Genetically Modified Mosquitoes

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Oxitec Fights Zika Virus With Genetically Modified Mosquitoes

If you’ve been paying attention to the news for the past week, you’ve undoubtedly heard about the recent Zika virus outbreak by now.

The virus, which is currently spreading across the Americas, has been linked to a rare birth defect known as microencephaly, a condition in which infants are born with abnormally small heads and brains.

Since the outbreak, there’s been a sizable uptick in infants born with this condition. The World Health Organization estimates that as many as 4 million people could be infected with the virus — and to make matters worse, there’s currently no vaccine to help stop it from spreading.

But all is not lost. Biologists are taking a bold new approach to stop the virus from spreading any further. Rather than developing a new vaccine or keeping mosquito populations at bay with insecticides, biotech firm Oxitec plans to fight the spread of Zika by deploying swarms of genetically engineered mosquitoes that will prevent virus-carrying bugs from multiplying.

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The science behind it all is immensely complicated, but the overall idea is actually pretty easy to grasp. Basically, Oxitec has created a genetically modified breed of the Aedes aegypti mosquito — the species that is primarily responsible for spreading the Zika virus. This GM version (called OX513A), has been engineered to carry a gene that causes offspring to die before they reach reproductive age. When Oxitec releases these OX513A mosquitoes into the wild, they mate with females and produce offspring that never fully mature — eventually leading to a sizable reduction in the Aedes aegypti populaiton, and (hopefully) a noticeable decrease in the spread of the Zika virus.

It’s basically the biological equivalent fighting fire with fire. To stop the spread of a disease that causes birth defects, we’re essentially using genetic engineering to give mosquitoes birth defects. And it’s highly effective too — Oxitec has reportedly seen a 90 percent reduction in mosquito populations in a number of different trial locations across the globe.

Now here’s the awesome part. As it turns out, the Aedes aegypti mosquito also happens to be the same species that carries a number of other tropical diseases. Oxitec actually developed the OX513A mosquito in an effort to stop the spread of dengue fever, and has already trialed it (with a great deal of success) in various locations in Latin America and Asia. This means that the company’s solution is more or less ready to roll — it doesn’t need to be adjusted in any major way to help fight the spread of Zika.

Moving forward, Oxitec has plans to expand its existing operations in Brazil (which currently cover about 5,000 people) and eventually build a new mosquito factory that will allow the company to scale up and provide mosquito control for a population of over 300,000. The future of vector control is looking bright!

 

 

Entrepreneur, contributor, writer, and editor of Sostre News. With a powerful new bi-lingual speaking generation by his side, Sostre News is becoming the preferred site for the latest in Politics, Entertainment, Sports, Culture, Tech, Breaking and World News.

Health

Woman, 24, With Cervical Cancer Given Months to Live After Docs Refused Smear Test Because She was ‘Too Young’

A WOMAN was told that she was “too young” for a smear test – only to be given months to live when docs finally discovered she had cervical cancer.

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Woman, 24, With Cervical Cancer Given Months to Live After Docs Refused Smear Test Because She was ‘Too Young’

A WOMAN was told that she was “too young” for a smear test – only to be given months to live when docs finally discovered she had cervical cancer.

Katie Bourne started to suffer from belly pains, doctors assumed she had Crohn’s disease.

Then aged 24, docs refused to give her a smear test as she was too young.

Katie was finally diagnosed with stage-three cervical cancer back in February, when she was warned that unless she started treatment immediately, she’d only have 18 months left to live.

Katie told Teesside Live that all of her symptoms had pointed towards cervical cancer but that her referrals for smears were turned down because of her age.

She said she started to experience stomach pains in July last year and went her GP in November.

“They took some swabs and said I was booked in for a smear,” she told the site.

“But when I went back they said they weren’t going to do the smear and I was diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease.

“The pain never went with the medication they gave me for that.”

In fact, after her cancer was picked up, it turned out that there was nothing wrong with her bowel at all.

In February, Katie collapsed in pain at her job at Next and spent the next three nights in hospital – where she was denied a smear again.

Symptoms of cervical cancer

The devastating thing about cervical cancer is that there are no obvious symptoms during the early stages.

But vaginal bleeding can often be a tell-tale sign – especially if it occurs after sex, in between periods or after the menopause.

Women are offered smear tests from the age of 25 which look for any abnormalities in the cervix, but if you are under the age bracket, and you notice any of the following symptoms, you’ve got to push for testing.

Other warning signs include:

  • pain and discomfort during sex
  • unusual or unpleasant vaginal discharge
  • pain in your lower back or pelvis

And if it spreads to other organs, the signs can include:

  • pain in your lower back or pelvis
  • severe pain in your side or back caused by your kidneys
  • constipation
  • peeing or pooing more than usual
  • losing control of your bladder or bowels
  • blood in your pee
  • swelling in one or both legs
  • severe vaginal bleeding

“Because of my age I was still declined a smear and when the pains went they sent me home,” she said.

“My GP had sent two gynae referrals in the December and January but both were declined. All my symptoms have always been the same.

“And when I Googled them they always brought up cervical cancer.”

A third referral was accepted and a smear and scan confirmed Katie’s worst fears.

She was told that she had stage three cancer which had spread to both sides of her pelvis.

Katie began chemo last month, but docs don’t know how well she’ll respond to it yet.

Without treatment, her prognosis is just 18 months.

Now 25, she’s already set about making a bucket list.

Top of her list is marrying her partner of four years, Leighanne Prior.

The couple had planned to get hitched in Las Vegas in the next few years but following Katie’s diagnoses, they’ve decided to get wed next month at Middlesbrough Registry Office.

And in January, they’ll be honeymooning in the Maldives.

Another thing in the bucket list is to “finish all the Real Housewives series!”

Cheers For Smears

Fabulous has partnered with cervical cancer charity Jo’s Trust to launch #CheersForSmears, a campaign aiming to ensure women across the UK attend their screenings, no matter what.

With around 3,200 women in the UK now being diagnosed with the disease every year – a number that is set to rise by around 40% within 20 years – and one in three dying from it, it’s clear we’re facing a cervical cancer time bomb.

Many say they can’t get convenient appointments to fit around their jobs.

In many surgeries, smear tests are only available at certain times or days, making it difficult for some women to book an appointment.

That’s why #CheersForSmears is calling on GPs to offer more flexible screening times and make testing available outside of office hours and at weekends.

We also want employers to play their part in helping to ensure that their female employees can attend potentially life-saving cervical screenings if they are unable to get an appointment outside of working hours.

Help get your employer involved by emailing info@jostrust.org.uk.

Remember:

  • 5,000 women’s lives are saved a year in the UK by cervical screening
  • 3,000 women are diagnosed with cervical cancer each year
  • 99.8% of cervical cancer cases are preventable
  • 870 women die every year in the UK from cervical cancer
  • 1 in 142 UK females will be diagnosed with cervical cancer in their lifetime
  • 25-29 years peak rate of cervical cancer cases

Leighanne, 30, has taken time off work to help take care of Katie.

She told Teesside Live that because the pair have a young nephew and another one on the way, Katie is worried about whether they’ll remember her.

“But most of the time, she’s so positive, she’s been amazing.”

All women and people with a cervix are invited for smear tests every three years from the age of 25 to 64.

A smear test isn’t a test for cervical cancer, but detects changes in the cells of the cervix which can be a precursor to the disease.

Finding abnormal changes early means they can be monitored or treated, so they don’t become cervical cancer.

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Health

6 Scientific Tricks to Help you Sleep

Do you have trouble sleeping? Don’t lie in bed and stress about it. These science-proven tricks will help you get to sleep faster…

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6 Scientific Tricks to Help you Sleep - Sostre News

Do you have trouble sleeping? Don’t lie in bed and stress about it. These science-proven tricks will help you get to sleep faster.

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Health

“The Depravity of The Human Condition”

Driven with out love and purpose we lack the necessities to sustain human life. Through eyes of apathy homelessness is normalized as a chosen way of life…

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"The Depravity of The Human Condition"

 “The Human Condition”

 

Despondency, starvation and lack cover the face of the earth

Driven with out love and purpose we lack the necessities to sustain human life.

Through eyes of apathy homelessness is normalized as a chosen way of life.

Depravity corrupts moral character diminishing compassion, and mercy.

loss of love is loss of life, people crave acceptance, support, love. interpersonal

relationships are opportunities for growth, maturity, insight and wisdom .

life experiences shape and mold character, without the proper elements to support

human life, we are susceptible to diseases both physically and spiritually.

atrocities darken the mind, and its eternal perception to see the good things

in life. destroying hope and potential, enslaving the mind to incorrect ways of

thinking. influencing the degeneration of moral conduct. impacting relationships,

creating heart ache and pain. destroying the fabric of relationships critical to our

emotional well being, drastically affecting emotional health. broken relationships

cripple our capacity to love. a closed unresponsive heart destroys inner life. making

you a slave to your own pain, causing great distress and spiritual blindness. that binds

the spirit that hinders it from expressing itself freely. erosion of love is malignant cancer

to the human soul. our heart is the core of who we are, our heart controls are thoughts

and actions. the heart most be protected and guarded in order to preserve the inner life

within us  the very essence of our spirit. we must be  careful of what we allow to enter

our hearts, music. television, the types of books we read  will mold us over time . like  water

over rocks the heart is a well spring of life’s issues, acting as a compass leading us along the

path of our destiny. the home of the higher self  created in the image of God

 

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