Wolbachia virus is harmless to humans, male mosquitos don’t bite, and whether Fresno residents like it or not, they’ll be subject to the release of a million of these franken-mosquitoes per week for the next 20 weeks.
The project, which has already rather quietly begun, is turning the area into a test facility without the consent of residents. Trucks will be driving through the city releasing swarms of millions of infected male mosquitos in Fresno.
For the Debug team at Verily, moving our work from the laboratory to the field is not only an important milestone for our group of biologists, engineers, and automation experts, but it’s also a critical step in bringing our long-term vision to reality. Field studies allow us to test our discoveries and technologies in challenging, real-world conditions and collect the necessary evidence to bring them to a broader scale. We hope to demonstrate success with Debug Fresno that will benefit the local communities working with us on this study and later other communities globally where Zika, dengue, and chikungunya are endemic. We are excited to take the first step in that journey today by bringing these technologies to the field. (source)
Here’s some more information about the project in this
propaganda informational video.
Does anyone else think that this sounds like the first chapter in a novel by the likes of Michael Crichton or Stephen King? (For information about protecting yourself from mosquitos that doesn’t include the potential for some kind of mosquito apocalypse, read this.)
I can see quite a lot of potential unfavorable variables here. Just off the top of my head, here are just some of the things that could go wrong:
- What if the mosquitos are sorted incorrectly? Do you really think that out of 20 million mosquitos, nary a biting female will get through the sorting process?
- What if the Wolbachia mutates? Something that is not harmful now could morph into something far worse than Zika.
- What if scientists believe that this gives them innate permission to conduct “field studies” of other things? Oh…wait. Apparently, they already feel they don’t require our permission to turn our neighborhoods into test facilities.
It’s like they don’t even consider these things. Or, if they do, then the risks are worth taking. Maybe this will be harmless, but the fact remains that this city is being turned into a “controlled environment” for Verily without the consent of citizens.
And that is not okay.
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