How to combat Zika? GM! (Interesting article from the London Evening Standard).


Here’s an article on the use of GM (genetic modification) of male mosquitos and how their genetic modification could help combat diseases such as  Zika and malaria

Taken from the London Evening Standard, page 14; Wednesday 3rd August 2016 Edition:

Have a read of article in the link below :

GM insect research can be a lifesaver, and London leads the way : London Evening Standard 03/08/2016.


(This article is from London Evening Standard and has not been written by me, it’s just an  article that I believe may interest you).



A drug that prevents HIV?!


Recent news in England is of a new drug called PrEP, pre-exposure prophylaxis, that’s blue in colour and which research has found to be very effective in preventing the transmission of HIV. However, the NHS seems adamant against funding this drug, with the council to do this instead.

HIV (human deficiency virus) is a virus that weakens the immune system, which works to fight against pathogens in your body, thus preventing you from getting [seriously] ill through exposure to pathogens such as bacteria and viruses such as HIV. Although the immune system usually works to help your body fight against pathogens, HIV acts as an exception where HIV uses the mechanism of white blood cells, called CD4, to make more copies of itself within the human body.




The news about the effectiveness of the drug gives the idea , like a magic wand,  it would be able to dissolve your worries of HIV  and probably may leave  room for people to abuse this new found freedom, leading to less caution when having sex; one thing to remember is that although the drug is highly effective, it is not 100 percent effective but 86% (according to research presented by the BBC news )  of which 14% is still something! which is a concern as the risk of contracting HIV from someone who is being treated with PrEP still gains a risk for contracting HIV, even if it is a relatively small probability of that happening, especially compared to the much higher success rate of the contraceptive pill whose effectiveness is more than 99% effective if taken correctly. With the comparison of 86 versus 99 percent, it’s hard to imagine people fully trusting in its use to the extent that people who take contraceptive pills may do, as the media that I have already seen seems to suggest.

However, such reduced caution could also be a good thing for example for couples where one of them has HIV, possibly quelling the fear the infected partner may have of passing the virus onto their other half .

It could also be argued that latex condoms provide a much cheaper alternative to PrEP drug and which is also effective in preventing the spread of HIV compared to the more costly sum the PrEP drug could cost the NHS (10-20 million pounds per year) . It may be that the PrEP drug, as useful as it may be, is also an unnecessary thing for NHS to have to pay for when there’s this other very effective option of using condoms as a preventative measure for contracting HIV instead. A preventative in the form of a drug always poses the risk that with drugs people would forget or confuse a course thereby putting other sexual partners at risk.

Introducing a new drug can have so many effects in the lives of those who need them and while the drug hasn’t been refused for testing and research deems PrEP as effective and good for use, the question is really whether or not the NHS should be funding PrEP . The NHS England are appealing that they should not fund the drug, claiming that it was not their responsibility.

hiv pill
PrEP pills.

To answer that, what is the role of the NHS concerning the topic of prevention? According to a report from the NHS Future Forum (can be found on this link:   ; pages 6 and 7 out of 31) the role of the NHS is to ‘… build the prevention of poor health and promotion of healthy living into their day today business, and be recognised for achieving excellence.’ This could leave room for interpretation; it could be argued that funding the drug would be a way in which the NHS could fulfil the criterion of building the prevention of health by giving people a drug which would prevent the poor health that may ensue from HIV?


What are your views on the advantages and disadvantages to the use of PrEP drug? Do you think that the NHS England should fund this new HIV drug or should it be left to the councils in England to do this?  


For more information on HIV and the pre-exposure prophylaxis drug ( PrEP), click on the links below :