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Genetically-Modified Mosquito Company Expands Operations

Accepted submission by takyon at 2016-01-19 19:29:02

A company that creates genetically-modified mosquitoes will open a new factory in Brazil as it expands operations []:

Small-scale studies in parts of Brazil, Panama and the Cayman Islands suggest engineered sterile mosquitoes can reduce wild insect populations by more than 90% when released into the wild. Intrexon said the facility in Piraciciba, São Paulo, will be able to protect 300,000 people.

Aedes aegypti mosquitoes carry three viruses - Dengue, Zika and Chikungunya.

The studies were carried out by the only company currently trialling GM insects, Oxitec, based in Abingdon, Oxfordshire. Oxitec, which was spun out from the University of Oxford, was bought by US company Intrexon for $160m (£106m) in August last year. Oxitec CEO Hadyn Parry said: "As the principal source for the fastest growing vector-borne infection in the world in Dengue fever, as well as the increasingly challenging Zika virus, controlling the Aedes aegypti population provides the best defence against these serious diseases for which there are no cures."

Related: CDC issues interim travel guidance related to Zika virus for 14 Countries and Territories in Central and South America and the Caribbean []

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