Listen: Malaria, Andrea Crisanto, London discussed on All Things Considered
"It's all things considered from NPR news. I'm Mary Louise Kelley, and I'm Audie Cornish. Scientists have figured out how to spread a genetic self destruct switch through a dangerous species mosquitoes that carry malaria NPR's, rob Steiner reports that the advances raising hopes and fears malaria is one of the world's greatest afflictions. And despite decades of fighting the mosquito borne disease Andrea Crisanto at Imperial College. London says malaria remains a major killer still ranks amongst the most frequently these in the world malaria infects about one hundred million a year and hilts about four hundred thousand mainly children below the age of five so Crisanto team decided to try something that's never been done before us a powerful new kind of genetic engineering to modify mosquito to destroy its own species. Are we the is to develop a genetic modification is able to spread? Generation after generation to the point that almost Kita becomes genetically modified and all the female mosquitoes become mutants, they can't bite or spread malaria and more importantly can't lay eggs. So eventually the population dies out we go act mosquito because he's the mosquito that transmit malaria, no mosquito malaria, very simple equation croissant. Team released male mosquitoes carrying this self destruct, gene into cages filled with unmodified mosquitoes. They did it in a high security basement lab in London to make sure none of the modified mosquitos escaped and it worked the self-destruct mutation spread like crazy and quickly devastated. The normal mosquitoes their entire population is white power within that completely eliminated. Crisanto says this shows these modified mosquitos could be a powerful weapon against malaria and other insect borne diseases. We're very excited. This is the first time they're using a genetic concert. You can eliminate. Dangerous species is really game changer. Other experts agree. This is an extraordinary paper. That's Kevin s felt an evolutionary engineer at MIT. We know what the cost of malaria are. And they are horrific if we want to get rid of it entirely. We need some kind of breakthrough. This is a key step. This could save a lot of lives. But the idea of letting insects genetically modified like this loose in the world is raising big fears, including among some activists in Africa where the mosquitoes would be released. First Nimmo bossy has the health of mother earth foundation in Nigeria. It would be that Africa has become a testing ground for the logic. That has been proven technology that no one can say definitively. We have a problem with this. The biggest fear is that wiping out. A species of mosquitos could wreak havoc with the environment. Where Carter Steinbrecher is a scientist with the group EKO nexus. It could leads to ecosystem crashes it could lead to other species coming into which are even more a problem. It could have consequences on the whole fruit chain. It's beyond our ability to predict what the consequences are except that it could be really devastating and problematic for Santi and others dismissed fears that eliminating one species of mosquito would be a problem when there would still be hundreds of other mosquito species we have eliminated viruses, like smallpox, we're trying to donate polio. I don't see the big difference. I regard them mosquitoes transmit malaria. As a as a pathogen? And I think as a pathogen we have the rights to twin innate, but Crisanto and other scientists acknowledge more research is needed to prove the technology works, and is safe and the political and social consensus is needed before any organisms genetically engineered this way are ever released into the world, rob Stein. NPR news. A proposed change to eligiblity requirements for immigrants seeking a green card permanent. US residency could have a dramatic impact on legal immigration. The Trump administration is expected to submit such a proposal for review in the coming weeks. It would expand the number of green card seekers whose applications penalized for using public assistance right now, only those using cash assistance or penalized here to explain this proposal and the impact it is already having even proposal form is Mark Greenberg. He is with the migration policy institute, which has been studying drafts of this as they appear Margaret Burk, welcome. Thanks very much. Okay. So what exactly is the proposed change here? This is a very dramatic change from the current standards that apply under the proposed rule. They would look at receipt of cash assistance. They would also include food stamps snap benefits. They would include. Housing assistance. They would also include Medicaid subsidies for part d in Medicare. So you're talking about impacting a lot of people a lot more people than are currently caught up in the works much larger group of benefits that would be counted. In the focus in the process would be not just are you currently receiving or have you received recently that also are you likely to receive one or more of these benefits at anytime in the future. I said when I introduced you that this proposal is already having an impact even in draft form. What does that impact? There have been concerns about this proposal for a number of months, and there are multiple reports around the country of individuals dropping out of health programs and public benefit programs because of uncertainty and fear about how participation programs might affect their immigration status. So people who are dropping out of programs or maybe not applying for assistance in the first place for fear of that. Maybe somewhere down the road, they will be penalized for that that that's right? That's right. Didn't the researchers referred to chilling effects where the number of people who don't apply for assistance, or drop out of assistance is much greater than those who are directly affected by the rules. Let me get your reaction to the rationale that has been laid out for those. The Trump administration says all it's trying to do is make sure that government benefits. Don't end up being a magnet that attracts more people to this country. What is your reaction to that argument? This effort really appears to be an effort to discourage immigrants from receiving benefits that they're eligible to receive and that are needed for families. If I hear you correctly, you're arguing that a motive for this is discouraging legal immigration to the country. The proposals really will have two kinds of effects one is around discouraging immigrants from receiving public benefits. The other is giving the administration much broader discretion in deciding who can come in and who can get a green card should we make anything of the timing that this proposal is supposed to be submitted for review in the weeks as we head into midterm elections in this country. We know they've been working on this for a long time. And they had originally targetted issuing this in July at the same time. It is striking that it's coming out in September. And that it will be spurring discussions around immigrants and use the public benefits in the weeks leading up to the elections. Mark Greenberg of the migration policy institute here in Washington. Thank you for coming by. Thanks very."