The Oxitec approach
Using advanced genetics and molecular biology Oxitec has developed a new and innovative solution to controlling the dangerous mosquito, Aedes aegypti.
The Oxitec solution harnesses the natural instincts of male mosquitoes to find females in the wild. Oxitec has used genetic engineering to create ‘self-limiting’ male insects which seek out and mate with females. After an Oxitec male mosquito has successfully mated with a wild female, any offspring that result will not survive to adulthood, so the mosquito population declines.
The Oxitec Control Programme is the system through which Oxitec mosquitoes are released and monitored over a predetermined and sustained period of time in an area with Aedes aegypti mosquitoes. By applying the Oxitec Control Programme to an area, the mosquito population in that area can be dramatically reduced or eliminated.
Unlike conventional insecticides or pesticides, which kill insects indiscriminately, the Oxitec approach is targeted at a single species. This means that, as well as being more effective, it is much better for the environment than conventional tools.
The personal cost of mosquito-borne diseases such as dengue, Zika, chikungunya and yellow fever is high. These diseases also place a stranglehold on entire communities. The economic cost of dengue is phenomenal and was estimated to have cost the global economy over US$39 billion in 2011 alone. In addition to the high cost of current control methods, and the even higher cost of caring for patients, disease outbreaks can devastate tourism in countries that often rely on the overseas income which visitors can bring.
The Oxitec solution provides a proven means of protecting people from Aedes aegypti and the diseases it spreads by reducing the population of Aedes aegypti mosquitoes. Oxitec’s solution can achieve this because it is:
- More effective than existing approaches
- Non-persisting in the environment
Read more about Oxitec’s solution and how it works on the following pages.