April 10, 2014
A project taking place in Jacobina, Bahia has again shown the effectiveness of the Oxitec OX513A mosquito in reducing the dengue mosquito population.
Led by the social organisation Moscamed, the project showed that releases of the genetically modified Aedes aegyptimosquitoes (OX513A) reduced by 79% the wild dengue mosquito population after six months. The results obtained in the neighbourhood of Pedra Branca protected about 1,500 residents from the bite of the dengue mosquito.
The city of Jacobina, which has about 50 thousand inhabitants, started a field demonstration using the Oxitec mosquito in June 2013, under permit from CTNBio (National Technical Commission on Biosafety). “The work in the neighbourhood of Pedra Branca will now enter the phase called ‘clean-up’. In the next six months Moscamed will release Oxitec mosquitoes at a lower rate with the intention of reinforcing the suppression. After this period they will continue monitoring the wild mosquitoes in the area and also make small releases with the objective of preventing a ressurgence of mosquitoes. At the same time, releases of Oxitec mosquitoes will start in adjacent neighbourhoods, expanding the area protected against the dengue mosquito” confirmed Dr Andrew McKemey, Head of Field Operations at Oxitec.
The results obtained are consistent with previous evaluations, carried out in the Itaberaba and Mandacaru neighbourhoods of Juazeiro, also in Bahia, and in the Cayman Islands. In Itaberaba, the reduction in the population of wild adult Aedes aegypti, after the releases, was 81%; in Mandacaru 93%; in the Cayman Isles, 82%. “The latest results confirm that continued release of the Oxitec mosquito can be highly effective in the reduction of dengue mosquito populations, offering a real hope to thousands of people threatened by the transmission of disease”, added McKemey.
The President of Moscamed, Dr Aldo Malavasi, confirmed that the Oxitec method is an important tool for the control of the dengue mosquito. “Brazil has one of the highest incidences of dengue in the world. We are pioneers in the use of this innovative approach because we urgently need new tools to control the dengue mosquito, which is growing exponentially despite the efforts to control it with conventional means.”
Before releasing Oxitec mosquitoes, Moscamed carried out a programme of community engagement, explaining to residents in the area what the mosquito is. “The local residents are supportive and favourable to the work that is being done. The local population understands better than any one of us the threat respresented by the dengue mosquito, so it is extremely encouraging to see that this new solution can offer a real hope for all the people who live in the shadow of this disease”, added Malavasi.
About Oxitec Ltd.
Oxitec is a pioneer in controlling insects that spread disease and damage crops. It was formed in 2002 as a ‘spin-out’ from Oxford University (England).
The technology developed by Oxitec creates genetically modified insects whose males are unable to have viable offspring after mating with wild females. This builds upon the use of the Sterile Insect Technique (SIT), which for more than 50 years has used irradiation to sterilize male insects to control or even eliminate populations of pest insects.
Oxitec’s first products are for the control of Aedes aegypti, the mosquito species primarily responsible for transmitting dengue fever, and Mediterranean fruit fly, one of the world’s most damaging agricultural pests.
Moscamed is a leading exponent of the Sterile Insect Technique (SIT), an environmentally friendly and proven technique to control insect pests. Moscamed provide both monitoring services and carry out SIT programmes for the control of fruit flies inBrazil. The studies are funded by Secretary of Health and Secretary of Science and Technology of State of Bahia.