Florida to release Genetically Engineered Mosquitoes to stop Zika Virus

14/03/2016 - 3 minutes

Oxitec (UK) is on track to be allowed to trial their self-limiting, genetically engineered mosquitoes in the US – and stop the spread of Dengue and Zika.

oxitec_gmo_mosquito_sterile_insect_technique_fda_fonsi_zikas_microencephaly_dengueAs a spin-off from Oxford University, Oxitec specialises in using genetic engineering to control insect pest populations with the ‘Sterile Insect Technique’.

This is an interesting alternative to pesticides in Agriculture, but it is also highly relevant in the control of infectious diseases. However, releasing GM mosquitoes is a very

idea, which is facing a lot of opposition and concerns over the impact it could potentially have on an ecosystem.

Aedes aegypti is a particularly problematic species of mosquito, as it spreads viruses like ChikungunyaDengue and more recently infamous Zika. The population of this mosquito is hard to control, even with heavy use of pesticides.

Oxitec wants to expand the import approvals of its Aedes aegypti OX513A product (a strain of male mosquitoes that don’t produce viable offspring) to the US and conduct a trial in the Florida Keys.

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