Oxford, UK, May 31st, 2017 – Oxitec, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Intrexon Corporation (NYSE: XON), announced that Lt. Gen. (Ret.) Tom Bostick, Ph.D., P.E., SVP, Head of Intrexon’s Environment Sector, will speak at the Brazil Investment Forum in São Paulo today, Wednesday, May 31, 5pm (local time). Dr. Bostick is in Brazil to discuss the importance of investments for vector control of disease-spreading insects.
“Cost analysis for the fight against Aedes aegypti must take into account the economic impact of vector borne diseases”, said Dr. Bostick.
Biotechnology company executives, including Dr. Bostick, along with Brazil’s Health Minister, Ricardo Barros, will also take part in a roundtable discussion of the economic impact of mosquito-borne diseases as well as other health related biotechnology innovations.
One of the major health problems in Brazil is epidemics driven by viruses that the Aedes aegypti mosquito transmits. According to Dr. Bostick, these epidemics must be approached with a more comprehensive cost-efficient approach. “When you analyze investments made in this disease vector, Aedes aegypti, you must take into account the direct and indirect impacts that Zika, dengue, chikungunya and yellow fever impose on the country’s economy overall”, said the Intrexon executive. “This is why in the fight against this disease-carrying mosquito, we see more effective results when authorities, private sector, and communities are addressing the problem together.”
In Brazil, Oxitec is a real example of how an innovative, new solution can achieve excellent results when integrated into a city’s ongoing vector-control programs, along with the support from affected communities.
In Piracicaba, located in upstate São Paulo, Oxitec began its first large-scale release of Friendly™ Aedes mosquitoes, the genetically engineered pests that suppress the Zika, dengue and chikungunya vector, in 2015.
During the first year Friendly™ Aedes were released in Piracicaba’s CECAP/Eldorado neighborhood, wild larvae populations of Aedes aegypti were suppressed by 82% in the treated area versus the non-treated area. In the second year, an 81% reduction was achieved with 59% fewer Friendly™ Aedes mosquitoes released in comparison to the prior year. This is evidence of the strength and durability of Oxitec’s solution.
Additionally, in Piracicaba’s São Judas District – where Friendly™ Aedes were released for the first time in mid-2016 – the Aedes aegypti wild larvae population was reduced 78% in just six months in comparison to the non-treated area.
“Piracicaba’s residents are exceptionally enthusiastic supporters of our genetically-engineered mosquitoes as they personally experience the positive results the Oxitec solution provides,” said Dr. Bostick. “Currently, 92.8% of the city’s residents support Friendly™ Aedes.”
Oxitec already has a facility in Piracicaba with the capacity to produce 60 million male Friendly™ Aedes per week.
During the Brazil Investment Forum’s roundtable, Dr. Bostick will elaborate on Intrexon’s experience investing in Brazil.
Lt. Gen. (Ret.) Tom Bostick, Ph.D., P.E., Intrexon’s SVP, Environment Sector, leads Intrexon’s creation of bioengineered solutions essential for a healthy and environmentally sustainable planet. He joined Intrexon after 38 years of distinguished service to the U.S. Army, where he recently retired as the 53rd U.S. Army Chief of Engineers and the Commanding General of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) overseeing and supervising most of the Nation’s civil works infrastructure and military construction, hundreds of environmental protection projects, as well as managing 34,000 civilian employees and military personnel in over 110 countries around the world.
Attend the Presentation
Event: Brasil Investment Forum (www.brasilinvestmentforum.com)
Dates: Tuesday (May 30th) and Wednesday (May 31st)
Local: Grand Hyatt São Paulo (Av. das Nações Unidas, 13301, São Paulo-SP)
Session: Round Table 6 – Health and Biotechnology
Time: Wednesday (May 31st), from 5:00 p.m. to 6:15 p.m.
Room: Auditorium 2
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 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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