Company wants FDA to grant emergency approval for genetically modified mosquitoes’ use in fight against Zika

Company wants FDA to grant emergency approval for genetically modified mosquitoes’ use in fight against Zika

With a group of genetically modified mosquitoes, a company has requested the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to give them emergency approval for using the controversial insects in battle against the Zika virus.

On Wednesday, Hadyn Parry, CEO of Oxitec, told the House of Representatives' Committee on Science, Space, and Technology in Washington that the British company has altered the DNA of the Aedes aegypti mosquitoes that spread Zika so that their offspring gets killed prior to reaching their adulthood. He said that the company has deployed just male mosquitoes, which can’t bite, to stop Zika transmission.

Parry said that he doesn’t think that time is on their side in the fight against the deadly virus.

According to the Pan American Health Organization, Zika has been detected in 39 nations and in Caribbean and Latin America territories.

The virus has badly hit the US territory of Puerto Rico, striking over 800 people. It can lead to devastating birth defects, and is likely to spread locally across the United States in the coming time.

Parry said that in Puerto Rico, there could be a disaster if proper steps aren’t taken. Parry said that the British company performed trials in Brazil, Panama, the Cayman Islands, and Malaysia and found that the genetically altered insects decreased the number of Aedes aegypti mosquitoes by 90%.

Some of the US residents are concerned that the release of the mosquitoes might have unintentional and unpredictable affects on the environment because they haven’t been released into the wild on that huge scale.

The FDA has gone through the issue and didn’t find any notable impact. The agency hasn’t approved the insects so far, and has been reviewing the comments made by people on the topic prior to taking a final decision. According to Parry, an emergency authorization would allow a more quick deployment of the mosquitoes.


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