Can Genetic Engineering Stop Zika?

When

February 23, 2016

12:15 pm - 1:45 pm

Where

New America

740 15th Street NW, Suite 900

Washington, DC 20005

In a matter of weeks, the Zika virus has gone from being a virtually unknown phenomenon to a “Public Health Emergency of International Concern.” And for good reason: The virus – for which there is no treatment – is spreading quickly through the Americas, carried by the Aedes aegypti mosquito.

Human development, climate change, and droughts will only make mosquitos more widespread, allowing them to carry diseases like dengue and malaria to new places. Around the world, researchers are trying to genetically engineer mosquitoes so that they can’t transmit dangerous viruses. But anyone who has seen Jurassic Park knows that a little change to the ecosystem can have serious effects. What might be the consequences of messing with the world’s deadliest animal? Are there other diseases that we may want to engineer away? If so, how should we proceed?

On Tuesday, Feb. 23, join Future Tense for a lunchtime conversation on Zika as a case study in potential technical solutions to deadly diseases.

Lunch will be served.

Follow the discussion online using #FTZika and follow us @FutureTenseNow.

Future Tense is a partnership of Arizona State University, New America and Slate.

Participants:

Andrew Maynard 
Professor, School for the Future of Innovation in Society, Arizona State University
Director of the Risk Innovation Lab, Arizona State University
@2020science  

Kevin Esvelt
Assistant Professor and Principal Investigator, Sculpting Evolution Group, MIT Media Lab

Eleonore Pauwels 
Senior Associate and Scholar, Science and Technology Innovation Program, Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars
@EleonorPauwels  

Bina Venkataraman 
Carnegie Fellow, New America
Director of Global Policy Initiatives, Broad Institute, MIT & Harvard
@binajv  

Graciela Ostera
Director, Immigrant Health Initiative, Microbiology & Immunology Department, Georgetown University Medical Center

Moderator:

Richard Harris
Science Correspondent, National Public Radio (on leave)
Visiting Scholar, Consortium for Science, Policy & Outcomes, Arizona State University
@rrichardh