Biotech Firm Seeks Emergency Approval of GMO Mosquito to Fight Zika
By Jill Drachenberg, Managing Editor, AHC Media
A British biotech company is seeking emergency approval from the FDA for the trial deployment of the company’s genetically modified mosquitoes – the latest effort to stop the Zika virus before it gains a foothold in the United States.
Oxitec CEO Hadyn Parry testified to the House of Representatives’ Committee on Science, Space, and Technology this week on how the modified Aedes aegypti mosquitoes work: Male mosquitoes, which do not bite, mate with females and produce offspring that die before reaching maturity. Tests of the bugs in the Cayman Islands, Brazil, Panama, and Malaysia showed a 90% reduction in Aedes mosquito populations.
Parry is seeking emergency approval for a trial run of the mosquitoes in the Florida Keys, which is currently fighting an outbreak of dengue from the Aedes mosquitoes. The FDA is reviewing information and comments for the trial and recently issued a "Finding of No Significant Impact" on the trial’s possible effect on the human environment.
Currently, 500 people in the United States have been diagnosed with Zika – almost all related to travel. The FDA has not indicated when a decision will be made regarding the mosquito trial.
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