An International workshop has been held at Juazeiro, Brazil, to review the first phase of a project to evaluate the potential for Oxitec’s genetically modified dengue mosquito strain, Aedes Aegypti OX513A, to be used as part of the campaign to control the mosquito in Brazil. The first phase results have successfully demonstrated the viability of Oxitec male mosquitoes to mate with wild females, validating the Oxitec approach.
The project, called ‘Projeto Aedes Transgenico’ (PAT), is the result of collaboration between the University of Sao Paulo, Moscamed and Oxitec and is supported by the State of Bahia government through the Secretary of Health, SESAB and Secretary of Science Technology and Innovation. The trials are being carried out in the Juazeiro area in Bahia state.
The meeting was part of an ongoing process to involve senior government and health officials in the progress of the trials and community engagement. Participants included representatives from the National Dengue Control Programme, Fiocruz, the Secretary of Science and Technology of Bahia state and Secretary of Health of Bahia as well as leading international experts.
Dr Aldo Malavasi, President of Moscamed, said:
“Openness and transparency have been a clear focus of PAT from the outset, and a vigorous and proactive community engagement campaign has been carried out involving all levels of the community.”
As part of the first phase of the trial project representatives visited every house in the trial area, met with local leaders and press, both print and TV, held local community meetings and published leaflets and other information resources. At the meeting Dr Malavasi reported that the response of the local community and wider public had been “very encouraging.”
Dr Margareth Capurro of the University of Sao Paulo, who is leading the project, said
“The latest results are very positive. We have used this data to plan two separate trials in local areas with different conditions where we hope to demonstrate suppression of the dengue mosquito.”
About Dengue Fever: (Taken from the World Health Organisation factsheet)
Dengue Fever is a virus spread by the bite of an infected mosquito. There is neither medication nor a vaccine to prevent Dengue Fever. Effective measures to control the dengue mosquito Aedes aegypti are urgently required as globally the disease is becoming geographically more wide-spread, more prevalent and more virulent. The incidence of dengue has increased 30 fold in the last 50 years and according to WHO now 2.5Bn people are at risk. The severe form of dengue, known as Dengue Haemorrhagic Fever, was first recognized as recently as the 1950s but today has become has become a leading cause of hospitalization and death among children in Asian and Latin American countries.
About Oxitec (www.oxitec.com)
Oxitec is developing and commercialising an effective and environment-friendly proprietary technology for the control of significant insect pests. Oxitec’s technology has the potential to make a major contribution for both global health and agriculture by combating insects responsible for serious diseases such as dengue fever as well as agricultural damage. The proprietary technology builds on inventions from the University of Oxford and employs genetics and molecular biology to enhance the existing radiation based Sterile Insect Technique (SIT), and to extend the control method to a broader range of insect pests.
+44 1235 832393
About Moscamed (www.moscamed.com.br)
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 in Brazil.
+55 74 3612-5399