http://www.tampabay.com/news/publicsafe ... 134582.ece
( they keep on dropping like flies
http://www.legendarytimes.com/forum/vie ... php?t=1611
Police: USF biologist dies in an apparent suicide by cyanide
By Jessica Vander Velde, Times Staff Writer
In Print: Wednesday, November 17, 2010
TEMPLE TERRACE — A University of South Florida molecular biologist died Monday night in an apparent suicide by cyanide at a Temple Terrace hotel, police said.
Chitra Chauhan, 33, of Tampa was pronounced dead at University Community Hospital about 10:30 p.m., Temple Terrace police reported.
The discovery of the toxic substance also prompted evacuation of 75 to 100 guests at the Extended Stay America hotel on Morris Bridge Road, where Chauhan had taken a room.
Chauhan was a post-doctoral researcher in the Global Health department in the College of Public Health.
She has a 3-year-old child with her husband, Bharath Balu, who is also a researcher in the department.
A note was found at the scene. Police did not disclose the contents. According to a medical examiner's report, Chauhan had made prior attempts.
Police got two 911 calls Monday night. One came from Chauhan's husband, who said she called home to tell him she had taken cyanide, the report stated. Another call came after Chauhan stumbled out of her hotel room and told a couple in the hall.
Paramedics rushed her to a hospital, but it was too late.
When ingested or inhaled, cyanide quickly deprives cells of oxygen, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
"It's not a safe substance, so it's not an easy thing to come by," said Cynthia Lewis-Younger, director of the Florida Poison Information Center in Tampa.
Chauhan's husband told police that his wife would have access to cyanide at work, according to the medical examiner's report.
No one else was harmed by the cyanide, police said. On Tuesday, a biotech company did an environmental cleanup at the hotel, and it reopened.
USF officials released a statement saying they were saddened to learn of Chauhan's death. The university plans to notify the community of public memorial services.
She earned her doctorate from the Institute of Genomics and Integrative Biology in New Delhi, India, in 2005, then studied mosquitoes and disease transmission at the University of Notre Dame.
"Chitra was just a wonderful person," said David W. Severson, her former lab leader at Notre Dame. "She was very bright. She was very enthusiastic. Everyone liked her very much."
( Or maybe this has something to do with )
http://www.scidev.net/en/news/gm-mosqui ... prise.html
GM mosquito wild release takes campaigners by surprise
11 November 2010 | EN | ES | 中文
Experts in the safety of genetically modified (GM) organisms have expressed concern over the release of GM mosquitoes into the wild on the Cayman Islands, which was publicised internationally only last month — a year after their initial release.
The trial of the OX513A strain of the dengue-carrying Aedes aegypti mosquito, developed by UK biotechnology company Oxitec, was carried out on Grand Cayman island by the Cayman Islands' Mosquito Research and Control Unit (MRCU) in 2009, followed by a bigger release between May and October this year. Together they represent the first known release of GM mosquitoes anywhere in the world.
Unpublished results of the trials, showing that the GM male mosquitoes competed with wild males, were presented at the American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene annual meeting in the United States, last week (4 November).
The male GM mosquitoes mate with normal females to produce larvae that die unless the antibiotic tetracycline is present. In tetracycline's absence an enzyme accumulates to a toxic level, killing the larvae. The developers hope the strategy could be combined with other mosquito control methods to reduce transmission in dengue-prone areas.
Ricarda Steinbrecher, a geneticist and co-director of EcoNexus — a UK-based non-profit research organisation — expressed surprise that the trials had occurred, saying that they had not been mentioned at the fifth meeting of the Parties to the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety — which addresses international safety issues relating to GM organisms — in Nagoya, Japan, last month.
She described the lack of publicity surrounding the trials as "worrying, both from the scientific perspective as well as public participation perspective".
Steinbrecher said that until a full, long-term environmental assessment of the Cayman trials has been carried out, the recently announced Malaysian trials of the same strain should not go ahead.
Just over three million male mosquitoes were released in the Cayman Islands this year. Oxitec sent the GM eggs to the islands, which are a British overseas territory, and they were hatched and grown at the MRCU.
Angela Harris, senior researcher at MRCU, told SciDev.Net that her unit consulted with several Cayman Islands' government departments beforehand.
"Currently there is a draft biosafety bill, and despite the fact that this bill has not yet been implemented we carried out a risk analysis and review of the trial as if this bill was already in place."
She said that there had been a newspaper article and public consultation within the Cayman Islands.
Luke Alphey, research director at Oxitec, said an extensive risk analysis was carried out and "we did lots of engagement work in Cayman, but no special effort either to spread the word internationally or not to [do so]". On the sidelines of a press conference in London today he said that he had not wanted to publicise the trial until the results were known. He did not know what the Nagoya meeting was, he said. An environmental assessment of the trial site is now being carried out.
Alphey said that the experiment complied with the Cartagena Protocol because prior informed consent was obtained from the Cayman government.
John Marshall, of Imperial College London, who has argued that the Cartagena Protocol needs overhauling to deal with the special demands of GM insects, said: "Because the mosquitoes aren't going to spread to other countries, it's a national issue. I think Oxitec has done everything they needed to do."
The wild mosquito population in a 16-hectare urban area is believed to have been reduced by about 80 per cent. The next step for Oxitec, said Alphey, is to test the strategy in conjunction with other mosquito control methods.
Kathy Jo Wetter, a researcher with the ETC Group (Action Group on Erosion, Technology and Cooperation), a Canada-based organisation that promotes the socially responsible development of technologies, said ETC was unaware of the release.
"Oxitec considers its trial 'successful' just days after the experiment has ended," she said. "But unintended impacts on the environment cannot be known, and Oxitec's unproven technology could make things worse in the long term. There is no possibility of recall if something goes wrong — who takes responsibility in that case?"
"Extreme techno-fixes require extreme precaution," she added.
Alphey said they are waiting for approval for the release of GM mosquitoes in Brazil, Panama and the United States.