Level of suppression exceeds 80% for second consecutive year
São Judas District has shown 78% reduction only six months after initial release
Piracicaba, Brazil, March 30th, 2017 – Oxitec and Piracicaba City Hall announced today new results from the Friendly™ Aedes project in the CECAP/Eldorado district and the first results in the São Judas neighborhood in the city’s central region.
In CECAP/Eldorado, Friendly™ Aedes has once again achieved high levels of 81% suppression of wild Aedes aegypti larvae in the treated area compared to the non-treated area. This is the second consecutive year the level of suppression has exceeded 80%. Importantly, the number of Friendly™ Aedes released in 2016 to maintain this high level of suppression was 59% below the year prior, illustrating the strength and durability of Oxitec’s solution.
Additionally in the São Judas neighborhood, where Friendly™ Aedes were first deployed in mid-2016, the reduction of wild larvae reached 78% compared to the non-treated area within just six months.
“These unparalleled results once again show the ability of Oxitec’s solution to control the wild populations of Aedes aegypti, the primary vector of dengue, yellow fever, Zika and chikungunya. We are excited by these results and continue to strive to make a meaningful difference in the fight against this mosquito using an innovative technology,” said Jorge Espanha, general manager of Oxitec in Brazil.
Piracicaba Health and Sports secretary, Pedro Mello, commented on the results. “We started working with Friendly™ Aedes in 2015 at CECAP/Eldorado. In this second year, we continued to see strong results that I am sure made a great difference in lives of residents in this district, helping protect them from this damaging mosquito that transmits several dangerous viruses. The initial results in São Judas also show the appropriateness of our decision to expand the project to the city’s central region in 2016.”
How Friendly™ Aedes works
Oxitec has been working in Aedes aegypti control for over a decade and pioneered the use of a biological method to suppress wild populations of this dangerous mosquito species through the release of Friendly™ Aedes males, which do not bite and do not transmit diseases. When released, these males search for wild females to mate, and their offspring inherit a self-limiting gene that causes them to die before reaching functional adulthood. Friendly™ Aedes’ offspring also inherit a fluorescent marker that allows tracking and monitoring at a level never before achieved, making the assessment of effectiveness more accurate throughout the whole Friendly™ Aedes deployment program. Unlike other approaches, Friendly™ Aedes mosquitoes die along with their offspring, and therefore do not persist in the environment or leave any ecological footprint.
Oxitec can conduct projects all over Brazil with the Friendly™ Aedes because it has already received biosafety approval from the National Technical Biosafety Commission (CTNBio). These projects aim to optimize field parameters and make Friendly™ Aedes use more effective. The National Health Surveillance Agency of Brazil (Anvisa) is elaborating new rules to provide Brazil with a framework for regulating this innovative class of vector control technology. Following development of this framework, Oxitec will be able to apply for commercialization of Friendly™ Aedes.
Oxitec is a pioneer in using genetic engineering to control insect pests that spread disease and damage crops, and was founded in 2002 as a spinout from Oxford University (UK). Oxitec is a subsidiary of Intrexon Corporation (NYSE: XON), which engineers biology to help solve some of the world’s biggest problems. Follow us on Twitter at @Oxitec.
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