Updated June 9, 2016
Today while the House and Senate try to decide how much to spend against Zika, we have word that by the end of this year over 800,000 people from Puerto Rico will become infected with Zika.
The only good news comes from the world of genetic modification of mosquitos and our ability to wipe out a species. In this case, the mosquitos that cause Zika and perhaps malaria. The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine endorsed continued research for genetic modification using a technique called “gene drive.” The committee concluded after nearly a yearlong study that while the trials can have risks, the benefits make it crucial to pursue. The group also set out a path to conducting what it called “carefully controlled field trials,” despite what some scientists say is the substantial risk of inadvertent release into the environment.
To put this in simple terms: every day malaria kills children – the mosquito borne illness provides daily tragedy. Two 747 full of children crash daily – killing all aboard – that is the equivalent. By the end of 2017 the birth defect rates from Zika will overwhelm most healthcare systems in the United States. It is predicted that over 800,000 people in Puerto Rico will be infected by the end of this year.
The ability to wipe out those mosquitos will save hundreds of thousands of lives a year, as well as remove the threat of the tragic birth defects that will come as Zika continues to invade our shores.
Dr. Terry Simpson
Dr. Terry Simpson received his undergraduate and graduate degrees from the University of Chicago where he spent several years in the Kovler Viral Oncology laboratories doing genetic engineering. He found he liked people more than petri dishes, and went to medical school. Dr. Simpson, a weight loss surgeon is an advocate of culinary medicine. The first surgeon to become certified in Culinary Medicine, he believes teaching people to improve their health through their food and in their kitchen. On the other side of the world, he has been a leading advocate of changing health care to make it more "relationship based," and his efforts awarded his team the Malcolm Baldrige award for healthcare in 2011 for the NUKA system of care in Alaska and in 2013 Dr Simpson won the National Indian Health Board Area Impact Award. A frequent contributor to media outlets discussing health related topics and advances in medicine, he is also a proud dad, husband, author, cook, and surgeon “in that order.” For media inquiries, please visit www.terrysimpson.com.