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[Genet-news] HEALTH & APPROVALS: USA: FDA Grants Approval to GMO Mosquitoes In Order To Fight Zika Virus, Is This A Good Idea?



                                  PART 1


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TITLE:   USA: FDA GRANTS APPROVAL TO GMO MOSQUITOES IN ORDER TO FIGHT ZIKA VIRUS, IS THIS A GOOD IDEA?

SOURCE:  Inquisitr

AUTHOR:  Louis Babcock

URL:     http://www.inquisitr.com/2882958/gmo-mosquitoes-fda-grants-approval-in-order-to-fight-zika-virus-is-this-a-good-idea/

DATE:    14.03.2016

SUMMARY: "The United States FDA has granted approval for GMO mosquitoes to be released in Florida in order to combat the Zika virus. These genetically modified mosquitoes have had their genes manipulated in such a way that a lethal gene will be passed on to all of the offspring that are made by the GMO mosquito."

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USA: FDA GRANTS APPROVAL TO GMO MOSQUITOES IN ORDER TO FIGHT ZIKA VIRUS, IS THIS A GOOD IDEA?

The United States FDA has granted approval for GMO mosquitoes to be released in Florida in order to combat the Zika virus. These genetically modified mosquitoes have had their genes manipulated in such a way that a lethal gene will be passed on to all of the offspring that are made by the GMO mosquito. The release of GMO mosquitoes is a trial run in order to determine if this is a viable method to fight the Zika virus. The FDA has stated that there will be â??no significant impactâ?? on the local environment from the genetically modified mosquitoes.

The Zika virus is passed through the bite from a female mosquito (Aedes aegypti). The genetically modified mosquito will be a male Aedes aegypti. These mosquitoes will mate but due to the modification, the offspring will not survive. By making sure a lethal gene is passed on to the GMOâ??s offspring, the Zika virus will be eradicated due to no living female Aedes aegypti left.

This is not the first time that the thought of GMO mosquitoes was being considered as an option in Florida. From 2009 to 2010, dengue fever was spreading around Florida. Authorities were having trouble controlling the spread of the illness, and that is when the GMO option went from science fiction to reality. Dengue fever is also carried by the Aedes aegypti.

Both the Centers for Disease Control and the World Health Organization are behind the plan to use GMO mosquitoes as a weapon against Zika.

Haydn Parry, CEO of Oxitec, is the man behind the GMO idea in Florida. Parry anticipated that the FDA would approve his plan, but getting the local population to believe in it may be a different story.

    â??While we didnâ??t expect anything different, weâ??re pleased the FDA has now published their data. Now we want to get everybody comfortable with the decision.â??

Mila de Mier is one of the locals that is firmly against the use of GMO mosquitoes.

    â??Less than a mile from the release site is a senior center and a local school. That area was not one that was affected by dengue. Not a single case ever. So why does the FDA want to do an experiment here when they can do this all over the world? People donâ??t want to be guinea pigs. There has been no acceptance from community members. If the local and federal government fail to protect us and our wishes, our last option will be to trust the judicial system and bring it to the court. A legal battle is an option at this point.â??

Haydn Parry was quick to counter Mierâ??s argument.

    â??In any public health program itâ??s hard to get 100% support. Iâ??m sure there will be some that donâ??t agree. But we have a very significant public health threat before us. Time is not on our side if you look at how Zika has been spreading. The sooner we can get going and show what we can do, the sooner we can make a difference in the fight against this virus. Whatâ??s very important in this case is that itâ??s not just the FDA who have evaluated our mosquito. The FDA have used an expert group drawn from Environmental Protection Agency, the Centers for Disease Control, and the Center for Veterinary Medicine, so that everyone involved had a chance for input.â??

According to the law, community members have 30 days to file their comments or complaints with the FDA. After the 30 day period expires, the FDA will go through the comments and complaints and make a final determination.

Do you think the use of GMO mosquitoes is a good idea?



                                  PART 2

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TITLE:   USA: TRIAL OF GENETICALLY ENGINEERED MOSQUITOES TO FIGHT ZIKA GETS TENTATIVE FDA APPROVAL

SOURCE:  LIFE

AUTHOR:  Alyssa Navarro

URL:     http://www.techtimes.com/articles/140523/20160312/trial-of-genetically-engineered-mosquitoes-to-fight-zika-gets-tentative-fda-approval.htm

DATE:    14.03.2016

SUMMARY: "In late January, the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) reviewed the application of British biotech firm Oxitec to perform a field trial of the company's genetically-engineered mosquitoes in Key Haven, Florida."

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USA: TRIAL OF GENETICALLY ENGINEERED MOSQUITOES TO FIGHT ZIKA GETS TENTATIVE FDA APPROVAL

In late January, the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) reviewed the application of British biotech firm Oxitec to perform a field trial of the company's genetically-engineered mosquitoes in Key Haven, Florida.

Now, the FDA has granted preliminary approval for Oxitec's OX513A vector mosquito, a self-limiting male Aedes aegypti mosquito that was genetically altered so that its offspring doesn't survive and reach adulthood.

The trial in Key Haven was approved because Oxitec's genetically-modified mosquitoes do not have any significant impact or negative effects on the environment, the FDA said.

Hadyn Parry, CEO of Oxitec which is a subsidiary of American company Intrexon Corp., said the A. aegypti mosquito is a huge threat to human health, especially because it is a carrier of Zika, dengue and chikungunya.

"This mosquito is non-native to the U.S. and difficult to control," said Parry.

The Oxitec CEO said current methods are only able to reduce the mosquito's population by up to 50 percent, and it is not enough.

In a 2014 interview, Parry said diseases such as dengue have grown 30-fold in the last half century, but the larvicides and insecticides used now is still the same as the ones used 50 years ago. The genetically-modified mosquitoes will improve that.

"If we do get permission from the FDA to go ahead, we are hoping that we will start running the program sometime in 2016," he said. Adding that the company looks forward to protecting the people from A. aegypti and the diseases it spreads.

The trial will then determine the efficacy of OX513A for controlling the local mosquito population of A. aegypti in Monroe County, Florida.

Incidentally, trials in Piracicaba, Brazil revealed that the OX513A mosquito reduced the population of wild Aedes mosquito by 82 percent.

"This is a powerful and versatile tool that can dramatically reduce the levels of infestation, which is the core of Brazil's prevention strategy right now," said Glenn Slade, the company's business development director in Brazil.

However, even though genetically-modified mosquitoes show promising results, some believe that wiping out the entire mosquito population provokes ecological concerns.

A Change.org petition by Key West resident Mila de Mier urges the FDA not to approve the genetically-altered mosquitoes.

In the meantime, anyone can submit comments or suggestions regarding the matter for the next 30 days beginning March 14.



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