RT: Genetically engineered mosquitoes battle Zika virus in Brazil

https://www.rt.com/news/329504-gm-mosquito-zika-virus-brazil/

The ‘Friendly Aedes aegypti Project’ conducted by the company’s subsidiary Oxitec aims to tackle the virus spread in the city of Piracicaba, based on the success of previous preventative measures introduced across Central and South America.

“As the principal source for the fastest growing vector-borne infection in the world in Dengue Fever, as well as the increasingly challenging Zika virus, controlling the Aedes aegypti population provides the best defense against these serious diseases for which there are no cures,” said Oxitec CEO Hadyn Parry.
…Oxitec is initiating a new mosquito production facility in Piracicaba that will have capacity to protect over 300,000 people,”

…Oxitec’s previous trials on mosquito population began in April 2015 after Brazil’s National Biosafety Committee (CTNBio) gave the green light for the UK company to release the insects into the wild.

“By the end of the calendar year, results had already indicated a reduction in wild mosquito larvae by 82 percent. Oxitec’s efficacy trials across Brazil, Panama and the Cayman Islands all resulted in a greater than 90 percent suppression of the wild Ae. aegypti mosquito population – an unprecedented level of control,” the statement said.

Marketwatch Oxitec aricle

“Intrexon Corporation [http://www.dna.com/] , a leader in synthetic biology, today announced its subsidiary Oxitec and Piracicaba City Hall have expanded the ‘Friendly Aedes aegypti Project’ in Piracicaba, Brazil following strong results for controlling the Ae. aegypti mosquito population, the primary vector for dengue, chikungunya and Zika virus outbreaks around the world

Samuel Broder, M.D., SVP and Head of Intrexon’s Health Sector commented, “As a vector that transmits a number of serious diseases, the Aedes aegypti mosquito poses a major threat to public health and the economic welfare of nations. Brazil has been hard hit by dengue and the situation there has been aggravated by the recent introduction of Zika virus infections leading to a startling increase in the number of children being born with microcephaly.” Dr. Broder continued, “Through the responsible engineering of biology, we demonstrate a new paradigm of species-specific vector control resulting in dramatic reductions of dangerous mosquitoes, without persistence or harm to the ecosystem, representing a major scientific, environmental and clinical advance.”

 

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