Oxitec’s Friendly™ Mosquitoes are a proven, safe, targeted vector control solution to combat mosquitoes that transmit disease.
Oxitec Transitioning Friendly™ Self-limiting Mosquitoes to 2nd Generation Technology Platform
Oxitec to Develop 2nd Friendly™ Mosquito Strain Designed to Combat Malaria-Spreading Mosquitoes
Oxitec to Apply New Generation of Self-Limiting Mosquito Technology to Malaria-Spreading Mosquitoes
The Aedes aegypti mosquito is an increasingly global threat. This mosquito almost exclusively bites humans, has evolved to live in and around people’s homes and it is the primary vector of several viral diseases, including dengue, Zika, chikungunya and yellow fever.
Aedes aegypti now lives alongside half of the world’s population and unfortunately, there is no cure or specific treatment for many diseases transmitted by Aedes aegypti. Vaccines are only available for yellow fever and dengue, leaving many people unprotected from the other diseases the Aedes aegypti mosquito spreads.
With a lack of treatment options, public health agencies are trying to stop these devastating diseases at their common source: by controlling the Aedes aegypti mosquito itself.
Unfortunately, existing methods of controlling Aedes aegypti, such as spraying or fogging using chemical insecticides, have failed to stop the spread of disease. This is partly because Aedes aegypti has developed resistance to insecticides, rendering many common chemicals ineffective at killing the mosquito. In addition, Aedes aegypti can be very difficult to reach because it lives around humans, breeding in and around peoples’ homes.
Oxitec’s Friendly™ Mosquitoes
Oxitec’s Friendly™ safe, non-biting male Aedes aegypti mosquitoes are designed to suppress local wild-type populations of the disease-spreading Aedes aegypti mosquito. Friendly™ Mosquitoes carry a “self-limiting” gene, which means that when Friendly™ Mosquitoes mate with wild females, their offspring inherit a copy of this gene, which prevents them from surviving to adulthood. Since the offspring do not mature to reproduce, there is a reduction in the wild pest population.
Our Friendly™ Mosquitoes have been proven for more than a decade to effectively fight Aedes aegypti in projects around the world. In both small- and large-scale pilot projects in countries like Brazil, Panama and the Cayman Islands, Friendly™ Mosquitoes have suppressed wild populations by more than 90% relative to untreated areas – a level of control greater than that typically achieved with insecticides.
Read more about the technology here.
Introducing 2nd Generation Friendly™ Mosquitoes
Building on more than 16 years of research and development at Oxford University and at Oxitec, our team is excited to announce the roll-out of a 2nd Generation Friendly™ Mosquito technology to combat Aedes aegypti.
This 2nd Generation product incorporates the strengths of its predecessor, which achieved world-firsts in delivering outstanding vector control with the self-limiting technology platform, while introducing a set of advanced benefits and features made possible by advancements in Oxitec’s core technology.
Oxitec’s 2nd Generation Features:
Ready for Scale. Oxitec’s 2nd Generation genetic technology enables production of male-only cohorts of insects for release, avoiding the need for manual processes to separate males from females, which might otherwise bite and transmit disease. This has the potential to make the technology more scalable and more efficient.
Enhanced Performance Benefits. Oxitec’s 2nd generation technology is also designed to deliver multi-generational but still self-limiting suppression. In the field, no female offspring that inherit the self-limiting gene can survive, so with regular releases of Friendly™ males mosquito population suppression is achieved through a reduction in the number of wild females. Male offspring that inherit the gene can survive, so we anticipate that each released Friendly™ male that successfully mates leads to a multi-generation suppression effect that dilutes over time until the gene disappears within a few generations.
New, Simpler Deployment Options. Oxitec’s 2nd generation Friendly™ Aedes technology also will allow Oxitec to leapfrog over existing technologies by using new, scalable, and simple release mechanisms designed with ease-of-use and non-expert end-users in mind.
Benefits of Our Solution
Oxitec’s technology provides a range of benefits over traditional insect control methods, and has been proven to be safe, effective, and environmentally-friendly.
- Species-specific: Our insects only target and then seek to reproduce with their own species. They will not result in the death of other, beneficial insects – unlike some other methods of control.
- Targeted: Our technology harnesses the natural mating instincts of the males, seeking out the wild pest insects where they live and breed in a way that conventional tools are unable to do.
- Environmentally-responsible: Our technology does not use any chemicals that are harmful to the environment, and it has no harmful effects of beneficial insect species.
- Non-persistent: The self-limiting system means that our insects cannot establish in the ecosystem, meaning it leaves no trace after use.
- Non-toxic: The proteins of our introduced genes do not produce any toxins or allergens, making it safe for use in any environment.
- Scalable: Our innovative production technologies allow us to efficiently mass rear our insects at a large scale. Our 2nd generation technology is allowing for even more efficiencies and scalability.
- Flexible: Our self-limiting insects can be used as part of integrated pest management programs and can be used as a stand-alone solution. In either case, the technology is flexible, adaptable and deployable in virtually any environment where Aedes aegypti is present.