Genetically modified mosquitoes to stem the spread of the Zika virus

Publié le 13 Mar, 2016

Last Friday, the FDA[1] initially authorised “experiments on mosquitoes genetically modified in Florida” in an attempt to limit the spread of the Zika virus. The Health Authorities “are joining forces to protect pregnant women in particular against infection by the Zika virus, which is believed to trigger foetal microcephaly” (see Newborn microcephaly in South America: an insecticide rather than the Zika virus).


These male mosquitoes known as “OX513A”“probably do not pose any risk of allergy to humans, animals or the environment” but the FDA must still have evaluations from the various parties involved before issuing a final authorisation. The mosquitoes are produced by the British company, Oxitec, and carry a gene which shortens their lifespan and that of their descendants, which die before reaching adulthood. The aim is to eliminate populations of wild mosquitoes carrying infectious diseases such as Zika.


The authorisation process has been accelerated because wild mosquitoes develop resistance to insecticides and “will hatch and multiply” with the arrival of spring.


[1] Food and Drug Administration.

AFP (11/03/2016)

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