Zika. It’s a Conspiracy Theorist’s Nightmare.

You don’t need a tinfoil hat to dislike the risky, unproven science behind GMO mosquitoes or the private/public money deals made without local input. But if the conspiracy/connections angle is your cup of tea, you’ll find plenty to satisfy. Zika is the name of a forest in Uganda from which experimental rhesus monkeys were captured in 1947. The virus was isolated by scientists working for the Rockefeller Foundation. ATCC Zika VR-84 is a commercial virus product and has been for sale since 1953. The product label states accidental infections have occurred in lab personnel.

The Oxitec 513A GMO mosquito, now being sold as a Zika preventative, was funded in part by a $5M grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, who later expressed concerns that Oxitec had released the mosquitoes in the Caymans without local consent. Interestingly, Zika virus is not a public health problem in Uganda where the virus was found in mosquitoes not long after being identified in monkeys. Names are always a great part of conspiracy theories, and these two don’t disappoint. “Zika,” means “overgrown” and the Oxitec gene insertion technique is called RIDL (pronounced “riddle”).

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