Oxitec scales up Mosquito production with a new Factory in Brazil

Since Brazil became the first country in the world to deploy GM mosquitos, Oxitec has opened a factory there to produce its Friendly Aedes aegypti.

Oxitec has opened a large-scale mosquito factory in Piracicaba, Brazil, to scale up production of their Friendly Aedes aegypti mosquitos. These mosquitos are effectively sterilized so they don’t transmit infectious tropical diseases like denguechikungunya and the emergent threat of the Zika virus.

As a spin-off from Oxford UniversityOxitec specializes in using genetic engineering to control insect pest populations with the ‘Sterile Insect Technique’. The population of this mosquito is hard to control, even with heavy use of pesticides.

ADVERTISEMENT

As an alternative solution, Oxitec engineered a strain, known as Friendly Aedes aegypti, that self-limits the mosquitoes’ populationOxitec reports that the introduction of this variant reduced Aedes aegypti populations by 90% in past efficacy trials, which is far superior to results with conventional methods like pesticides.

Spraying pesticides is one such conventional method to control the population of Aedes aegypti.

Spraying pesticides is one such conventional method to control the population of Aedes aegypti.

Despite the controversy surrounding GMO, the WHO recommends Oxitec’s strategy as a tool to fight Zika. It also has the support of government agencies in different countries, including the FDA. Its Center for Veterinary Medicine (FDA-CVM), in collaboration with the EPA and CDC, has since released a preliminary finding of no significant impact (FONSI), to indicate that this mosquito control method has no impact on health or the environment.

Following on these encouraging results, Oxitec opened the factory with plans to use the factory to produce 60M Friendly mosquitos per week in Brazil. The company estimates that 3M people will consequently be protected as a result of the significant reduction of the local population of Aedes aegypti.


Featured Image: Jamesbin/shutterstock.com

Image: ksenvitaln/shutterstock.com

Let's Continue The Conversation

Feel free to send us comments about this article to comments@labiotech.eu and/or comment on that article on social media.

We use cookies to give you the best experience and for advertising purposes. By accepting, you support our independent media and it's freely accessible content.