OXFORD, UK, 9th November 2016 – Oxitec announces that the residents of Monroe County, Florida yesterday voted to support the Florida Keys Mosquito Control District utilizing Oxitec’s genetically engineered, self-limiting mosquitoes in an effectiveness trial to fight against the Aedes aegypti mosquito.
“The voters of Monroe County have clearly spoken. By approving this referendum, they have highlighted the need for new and targeted solutions that will fight against the invasive mosquitoes that carry Zika, dengue and other dangerous viruses,” said Oxitec CEO Hadyn Parry.
Earlier this year, the Florida Keys Mosquito Control Board placed two non-binding referendums on the November 2016 ballot, allowing the residents of Key Haven and Monroe County to weigh in on whether they support a trial of Oxitec’s technology.
“While we did not win over every community in the Keys, Oxitec appreciates the support received from the community and is prepared to take the next steps with the Florida Keys Mosquito Control Board to trial its environmentally-friendly and non-persisting mosquito control solution,” added Mr. Parry.
According to the Florida Department of Health, more than 135 pregnant women and more than 1000 other residents have been infected with the Zika virus. Major tourist areas in Florida remain under health warnings, with more likely to occur in the future. In response to these developments, and in recognition of the critical need to control the vector that spreads disease, many communities across the state and civic groups, such as Chambers of Commerce, have expressed their support for moving forward with the Oxitec solution. Recently more than 60 legislators representing both parties in the Florida House of Representatives signed a letter asking federal health officials for quick action to make this self-limiting mosquito available statewide.
“At Oxitec, we remain strongly committed to helping Florida find viable solutions for vector control. Communities interested in pursuing our vector control solution have been advised by the Federal Department of Health and Human Services to contact Oxitec directly to access the technology – and we are ready right now to work closely with any community that is in need of a new approach.”
Oxitec’s technology represents a paradigm shift in mosquito control with unparalleled results. In conjunction with independent collaborators, Oxitec has conducted five open field trials of its self-limiting mosquitoes in Brazil, Panama and the Cayman Islands. Each trial led to a greater than 90% reduction of the wild Aedes aegypti population, a level of suppression far in excess of conventional approaches.
This innovative solution is currently being deployed in Piracicaba, Brazil and the Cayman Islands. Notably the public support for these projects has been strong in these areas. Surveys conducted in mid-2016 show that 69% of the residents of Grand Cayman and 88% of Piracicaba’s citizens support the use of Oxitec’s solution.
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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