Deployment of mosquito control solution that fights primary vector of Zika, dengue, and chikungunya begins today
São Judas utilizing this technology since July 2016
Oxford, UK, 6th September 2016
Oxitec and Piracicaba City Hall announced that today they will begin the release of Friendly™ Aedes in ten additional downtown neighborhoods – Centro, Cidade Alta, Cidade Jardim, Clube de Campo, Jardim Monumento, Nova Piracicaba, Nhô Quim, Parque da Rua do Porto, São Dimas and Vila Rezende. These releases, along with those in São Judas, mark the deployment of Oxitec´s mosquito control solution in the eleven districts comprising the expansion of the Friendly™ Aedes project in Piracicaba’s downtown. Oxitec’s Friendly™ Aedes are designed to specifically target and suppress populations of the Aedes aegypti mosquito, the primary vector of some of the most damaging viruses to humans including Zika, dengue, and chikungunya.
“São Judas has been releasing the Friendly™ Aedes since July. With these ten new neighborhoods, we aim to protect the health of more than 60,000 people that live in these regions with an innovative, environmentally friendly and sustainable approach. In addition, the five thousand residents in the CECAP/Eldorado area are in the second year of the Friendly™ Aedes project in the neighborhood. I´m sure that this project is already making Piracicaba a reference point in Brazil and the world in the fight against Zika, dengue and chikungunya,” said Gabriel Ferrato, Piracicaba´s Mayor.
“Effective vector control solutions will be critical in reducing populations of disease-carrying Aedes aegypti to prevent the spread of Zika, as well as dengue and chikungunya. The crisis in Brazil is severe, and we believe that the use of Friendly™ Aedes will contribute significantly to fight the spread of a dangerous mosquito species. We expect to get the first results of Friendly™ Aedes in these neighborhoods within three to six months,” said Glen Slade, Oxitec do Brasil’s director.
The release of Friendly™ Aedes in 10 downtown neighborhoods begins after more than 13 weeks of public engagement work in which Oxitec’s technicians, supported by the Secretary of Health, explained to Piracicaba’s citizens what Friendly™ Aedes is and how it works. An advertising campaign is running in newspapers, billboards, bus door posters, radio spots and an information kiosk at Piracicaba’s largest shopping mall.
“In our work with the population we also explain why the Friendly™ Aedes is safe and that it’s been approved for use all over Brazil”, said Guilherme Trivellato, Friendly™ Aedes Project Manager in Piracicaba. Mr. Trivellato continued, “The Friendly™ Aedes is a male mosquito, unable to bite and transmit diseases. The one who bites is the female, which needs blood to mature its eggs”.
“It’s fundamental to remember that the Friendly™ Aedes won’t work alone. The population must continue to do their part, eliminating mosquito breeding sites and following the public health agents’ instructions to avoid Aedes aegypti infestation”, says Pedro Mello, Piracicaba City Hall’s Secretary of Health.
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 do not leave any ecological footprint. Friendly™ Aedes die along with their offspring, and do not persist in the environment.
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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