Release of genetically modified mosquitoes created to fight disease a success: Biotech firm

C. Greenberg,  National Post,  2022.

The release of genetically modified mosquitoes in the United States created to fight disease has gone according to plan, biotechnology firm Oxitec says.The first phase of the pilot study consisted of releasing almost 5 million modified Aedes aegypti male mosquitoes in the Florida Keys, a group of islands off the southern tip of Florida, in April 2021. The results indicated that the method may eventually succeed in eradicating or downsizing the number of Aedes aegypti mosquitoes. Aedes aegypti only make up 4 per cent of the mosquito population in the Keys, but are responsible for spreading yellow fever, dengue, chikungunya and Zika virus, Oxitec said during an online seminar revealing their findings on April 6. “The mosquito is very difficult to control. It likes to live around people, in houses, under houses,” said Andrea Leal, executive director of the Florida Keys Mosquito Control District. “We’re also seeing an increase in resistance to a number of our adulticide products that we use for mosquito control, so at the end of it, we’re looking for new tools to put in our toolbox to help us control this particular mosquito.”

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