By NewsDesk @bactiman63
Oxitec announced this week the successful completion of the mosquito release phase of its landmark project with the Florida Keys Mosquito Control District. All Oxitec mosquito boxes will be removed from participants’ properties in the coming weeks. Monitoring of the project continuing into 2022.
The pilot project, which began in April 2021 with approvals from the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Florida state, and local government, was designed to evaluate the use of Oxitec mosquitoes in controlling the invasive Aedes aegypti mosquitoes found in the Florida Keys and other regions of the United States.
Aedes aegypti can spread dengue, Zika, yellow fever, chikungunya, heartworm and other diseases. The Florida Keys has reported cases of dengue fever as recently as 2020, which emphasizes the importance of controlling these non-native mosquitoes.
Throughout the project, Oxitec’s non-biting male mosquitoes successfully dispersed from small boxes as expected, mated with invasive pest females successfully, and produced male-only offspring, demonstrating the 100% larvicidal effectiveness of Oxitec’s self-limiting technology.
Public support for the pilot in the Florida Keys remains high. Outside of two large tropical storms, the project ran smoothly and according to plan with no interruptions.
Grey Frandsen, CEO of Oxitec, commented:
“We’re delighted that our first mosquito releases on US soil have gone so well. We could not have done this without the ongoing and outstanding support of our partner, the Florida Keys Mosquito Control District, its board of directors, and its staff. We’re also deeply thankful for the incredible support we’ve received from Keys residents, businesses, associations, public officials, scientists, students, and non-profits in the Keys who rallied around our team, our work, and our cause as their own. The success of this project is due entirely to this wonderfully broad and diverse group of stakeholders who share the belief that new, environmentally sustainable methods are needed to effectively control disease-spreading mosquitoes while protecting sensitive ecosystems. Excellent teamwork all around in this exemplar public-private collaboration.”
This update comes after recent news of Oxitec’s commercial launch of its Aedes aegypti technology in Brazil; it’s new partnership with the Wellcome Trust to scale-up the use of its Aedes aegypti solution for global impact; and the deregulation of Oxitec’s fall armyworm solution by Brazil’s biosafety regulator, CTNBio.
To stay up to date or learn more about the Florida Keys project, please visit keysmosquitoproject.com.