How Genetically Modified Mosquito is used to Prevent the Spreading of Zika Virus in Florida
A British Biotech issued a proposal to release a genetically modified mosquito or GMO to prevent the spreading of Zika virus. Oxitec releases information that the modified Aedes aegypti mosquito that also transmits dengue can't produce an offspring.
The proposal was declined by the Florida Keys at the Food and Drug Administration. On the other hand, Oxitech is currently conducting field trials outside United State, according to Times Union.
According to Dr. Luciana Borio, an assistant commissioner at Food and Drug Administration said, "The data seems to be promising in terms of reducing the mosquito population in those small field trials, but we need to go through our process, and we are greatly expediting the process." This was announced earlier this month at a House Energy and Commerce subcommittee on Zika awareness.
How are they modified? According to Oxitech, Aedes aegypti mosquito with manufactured DNA can't produce offspring that can survive outside the laboratory. Both modified female and male mosquitoes are manually separated from the lab.
Does it work? The company has successfully completed the test at Panama at Cayman Island, which also part of a dengue-fighting program in Brazil. According to the city's health department " A reduction in the wild Aedes larvae population in the targeted neighborhood by over 80 percent."
What are the risks? In a preliminary finding at FDA's Center for Veterinary Medicine said "Based on the data and information submitted in the draft (environmental assessment), other submissions from the sponsor, and scientific literature, FDA found that the probability of adverse impacts on human or other animal health is negligible or low."
On the other hand, the final approval for the trail won't be decided until the FDA receives a comment from the public. It may take weeks or months to complete the process to get the approval from FDA, according to The New York Times.