Project created by Oxitec uses modified Aedes aegypti male mosquitoes to mate with infected females and prevent the spread of the disease
This Tuesday (19), the company Oxitec announced the result of an experiment that aimed to combat Aedes aegypti, the mosquito responsible for the transmission of dengue, chikungunya, zika and yellow fever.
According to the company, the test, carried out in close collaboration with the city of Indaiatuba (São Paulo), was successful in suppressing 95% of the population of Aedes aegypti in 13 weeks. This percentage was calculated based on untreated control areas in the same city.
The treatment involved placing mini capsules with mosquito eggs called ‘Aedes do Bem’ on residential properties once a week. The entire process is done quickly, without tools or special handling.
The effort led to a rapid suppression of the disease transmitter in an area where about 1,000 people live. In addition to fighting mosquitoes, the technology was 100% effective in eliminating female larvae, according to the company.
Aedes do Bem Mosquitoes
Technology aims to control the birth of mosquitoes that transmit the disease. Photograph: Pxhere
The technology works in a curious way: by adding water to the capsules, male mosquitoes are generated. However, they are genetically modified so as not to sting and transmit the disease.
After leaving the box in which they were packed to grow, they disperse in the environment to mate with infected Aedes aegypti females in an area of up to 8 thousand square meters.
Using Oxitec’s proprietary technology, the production of these mosquitoes was designed to be done in centralized facilities, to be stably stored and to be able to be deployed anywhere in the world, without the need for a special team.
Earlier this month, the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) granted Oxitec an experimental permit for field tests to be carried out in the United States.
If the implementation is also successful, it may be that the technology helps to reduce the rates of infected registered by the World Health Organization – which estimates more than 390 million people affected by dengue every year.
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