A court finally allowed the release of Oxitec‘s ‘friendly’ mosquitoes in the Grand Cayman (1 of the 3 islands). If the technique repeats its recent successes, the local population of Zika-transmitting species could decrease by 90%.
Located in the tropics, the Cayman Islands are one of the territories at risk of the spread of Aedes aegypti mosquito. This species transmits infectious diseases like dengue, chikungunya and the emergent threat of the Zika virus.
So far, only three imported cases of Zika were detected in the Grand Cayman, which is the biggest and only island affected with the invasive Aedes aegypti mosquito.
However, the risk has served as a backdrop for a new strategy to contain mosquito-borne diseases – genetically-engineered strains that self-limit the mosquitoes’ population. The UK Biotech Oxitec is leading these developments with its ‘Friendly Aedes aegypti’.
The release of Oxitec’s GM mosquitoes in the Grand Cayman started last week,