PRESS RELEASE: Oxitec do Brasil opens its first mosquito production unit to fight the dengue vector, Aedes aegypti

July 30, 2014

Campinas, 29 July 2014

Oxitec do Brasil is today holding the inauguration of its first production unit of its OX513A Aedes aegypti mosquito in order to help in the fight against the principal vector of dengue and chikungunya. With 240m2 for production, dispatch and analysis of mosquitos, the opening of the factory marks a new phase for the company in Brazil. “With this production unit, Oxitec do Brasil is consolidating its presence in the country. Now we are more prepared than ever to support our project partners”, said Glen Slade, Head of Business Development and responsible for the company in Brazil.

The use of OX513A Aedes aegypti, a genetically modified strain, has been shown to lead to a significant reduction of the wild population of the dengue mosquito four to six months after first release. A project led by Moscamed in the town of Jacobina, Bahia, has reduced the wild population of Aedes aegypti in the Pedra Branca neighborhood by 92%. This project is ongoing and is now being extended to other neighborhoods in the city. In the city of Juazeiro in Bahia, two other projects led by Moscamed and the University of São Paulo (USP) achieved a further decrease of wild Aedes aegypti. In the neighborhood Itaberaba, the reduction was 94% and Mandacaru, 99%. In other trials in the Cayman Islands, the Caribbean, the decrease was 96%.

Located in TechnoPark, Campinas, Brazil’s Oxitec factory has an initial capacity to produce 2 million Aedes aegypti OX513A a week. “This production unit is sufficient to initiate projects, but we intend to invest in the construction of larger units in the coming months,” says Glen Slade.

For the CEO of Oxitec, Hadyn Parry, Oxitec do Brazil’s new factory offers the market an innovative tool to control the dengue mosquito that affects millions of people in Brazil and worldwide. “There is currently no vaccine or specific medication for dengue. At present the only effective way to impact on the disease is to control the mosquito that spreads dengue. Our solution has already been shown to be highly effective but it is also an environmentally sound and safe approach. We believe it has great potential to decrease the number of dengue cases. It is time to implement its use on a larger scale. ”

Jair Virginio, president of Moscamed, social partner organization Oxitec tests in the field, also believes that the Oxitec technology is a crucial tool for the control of dengue mosquito. “Brazil has one of the highest incidences of dengue in the world. We are pioneers in the use of this innovative approach because we urgently need new tools to control the dengue mosquito, which is growing exponentially despite all the efforts made ​​in recent decades to control it with conventional methods.”

About Oxitec do Brasil

Oxitec do Brasil is a subsidiary of Oxitec Limited, a pioneer in controlling insects that spread disease and damage crops. Oxitec Ltd was formed in 2002 as a spin-out from Oxford University (England). The technology developed by Oxitec creates genetically modified insects whose males are able to mate with wild females but the offspring do not develop into fully functional adults. This technology is an evolution of the Sterile Insect Technique (SIT), which has been used to great effect for more than 50 years.

The first product strains created by Oxitec are to control Aedes aegypti, the mosquito that transmits the dengue virus, and Ceratitis capitata, the Mediterranean fly, a major pest of world agriculture.

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Press contacts:

Brazil: Alessandro Greco

+55 (11) 3230-6509 / (21) 99802-298

Rest of world: Hadyn Parry

+44 (1235) 832393