With increasing number of Zika virus cases being reported and the WHO declaring it as a public health emergency, many countries have been trying to cope with the menace. Oxitec, a British bio-technology company claims they have found a solution. Genetically modified mosquitoes they claim can help in curbing the mosquito population. The zika virus is spread by Aedes Aegypti which also spreads dengue and chikungunya.
The GM mosquitoes have a self-limiting gene which causes the offspring to die before reaching adulthood is the company’s claim as reported by Xinhua. The company claims to have eliminated 90% of Aedes Aegypti population through its trials all over the world.
“Our mosquitoes do not impact the disease; we just reduce the number of mosquitoes. You get Zika, dengue or chikungunya by being bitten by a mosquito carrying that disease. No mosquito means no disease, less mosquitoes means less disease” Oxitec CEO Hadyn Parry said.
Eliminating the mosquito population will reduce other forms of transmission as the Zika virus remains in the bloodstream for a few weeks, according to US Centre for Disease control and Prevention.
Piracicaba , a city in Sao Paulo, Brazil where a trial have been conducted is now expanding the trials to cover more population. But other Latin American regions do not share the same enthusiasm. There have been criticism about the company’s methods and disbelief about their claims. The authorisation from Brazil’s Ministry of Health has not been received and this is hindering Oxitec’s plans of marketing and selling their product.