SynBio Nootkatone now in trials to stop the Spread of Zika

27/07/2016 - 3 minutes

The grapefruit aroma nootkatone is now in field trials to assess its effectiveness against mosquitoes that spread the Zika virus. Good news for Evolva, which figured out a SynBio process to produce the compound.

evolva zika aedes mosquito nootkatoneRecently, the Zika went from being considered a mild virus to a public health emergency. As the virus was linked with infant microcephaly, there was a rush to stop its spread. Developing a protective vaccine is key to those efforts, with Sanofi Pasteur and Themis (Austria) amongst those already working towards such a therapy.

However, biotech is also targeting another component of the Zika spread – the mosquitoes that transmit it. This ranges from the controversial release of genetically engineered mosquitoes to novel insecticides and repellents – such as nootkatone.

Nootkatone is a natural compound and part of what gives grapefruits their aroma, and has known properties which repel insects. The compound would make for an interesting commercial repellant and insecticide,

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