Published on 3 Jan 2013
In a single year, there are 200-300 million cases of malaria and 50-100 million cases of dengue fever worldwide. So: Why haven’t we found a way to effectively kill mosquitoes yet? Hadyn Parry presents a fascinating solution: genetically engineering male mosquitoes to make them sterile, and releasing the insects into the wild, to cut down on disease-carrying species.
TED Talk Link
“And that’s exactly where we are. So this is technology that was developed in Oxford University a few years ago. The company itself, Oxitec, we’ve been working for the last 10 years, very much on a sort of similar development pathway that you’d get with a pharmaceutical company. So about 10 years of internal evaluation, testing, to get this to a state where we think it’s actually ready. And then we’ve gone out into the big outdoors, always with local community consent, always with the necessary permits. So we’ve done field trials now in the Cayman Islands, a small one in Malaysia, and two more now in Brazil…
We can produce them, in a space a bit more than this red carpet, I can produce about 20 million a week. We can transport them around the world. It’s not very expensive, because it’s a coffee cup — something the size of a coffee cup will hold about three million eggs. So freight costs aren’t our biggest problem. (Laughter) So we’ve got that. You could call it a mosquito factory. And for Brazil, where we’ve been doing some trials, the Brazilian government themselves have now built their own mosquito factory, far bigger than ours, and we’ll use that for scaling up in Brazil.“