EPA Reopens Public Comment Period on Application for Experimental Use Permit to Combat Mosquitoes

In response to requests from stakeholders, the Environmental Protection Agency is reopening the public comment period regarding an application from Oxitec Ltd. for an experimental use permit (EUP) for genetically engineered OX513A Aedes aegypti mosquitoes.

EPA first announced the availability of Oxitec’s application for an experimental use permit on March 9, 2018, in the Federal Register. Following review of the application, data and public comments, EPA will decide whether to issue or deny the EUP request and, if issued, the conditions under which the study is to be conducted. Continue reading

Modified Mosquitoes Used To Contain Dengue Fever

From One America News Network

Brazilian scientists release the first batch of “modified mosquitoes” in an effort to contain the spread of dengue fever.

The scientists infected millions of mosquitoes with a bacteria, which prevents the insects from transmitting the disease to humans. Continue reading

The spread of mosquito borne diseases in the U.S.

Excerpted from Entomology Today

A team of researchers from Brazil and Argentina propose several ideas for the many mosquito-borne disease outbreaks in a paper recently published in the Journal of Medical Entomology. Continue reading

How to combat Zika and protect the environment – at the same time

by Lisa Gross, Ensia

County public health officials in South Carolina weren’t thinking about bees in August, when they realized that four residents in a single town had returned from travel abroad infected with Zika. Like health officials around the world, they were thinking of the babies born with heartbreaking birth defects in Brazil. And they were thinking about mosquitoes.

After reports emerged in January that thousands of Brazilian infants had been born with microcephaly, a debilitating neurodevelopmental condition marked by severely stunted head and brain growth, the World Health Organization declared an international public health emergency to figure out why. Scientists thought Zika might be a cause, and within months the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirmed that it was. Continue reading

Rio fights Zika with biggest release yet of bacteria-infected mosquitoes

In Nature online

by Ewen Callaway

Two South American metropolises are enlisting bacteria-infected mosquitoes to fight Zika, in the world’s biggest test yet of an unconventional yet promising approach to quell mosquito-borne diseases.

Mosquitoes that carry Wolbachia bacteria — which hinder the insects’ ability to transmit Zika, dengue and other viruses — will be widely released in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and Medellín, Colombia, over the next two years, scientists announced on 26 October. The deployments will reach around 2.5 million people in each city. Continue reading

Biotech regulations need review, says NC State scientist

by Nash Dunn, NC State University

In a new Policy Forum article in Science, NC State professor Jennifer Kuzma argues that federal authorities are missing an opportunity to revise outdated regulatory processes not fit for modern innovations in biotechnology, such as a current situation involving genetically engineered mosquitoes.

Earlier this summer, the Food and Drug Administration approved the engineered mosquitoes as a potential weapon in the fight against the Zika virus. Continue reading

North Carolina scientists mapping mosquito eggs to prepare for Zika

Each week, Anastasia Figurskey hides 15 plastic cups filled with water in bushes near spots around Wake County where people will walk by: Gas stations, front yards of home and recycling drop-off centers all fit the bill.

After a few days the Wake County employee fishes brown paper marked with tiny black dots from each cup. After the paper dries, inside a windowless insect-hatching room at North Carolina State University, she peers at every egg under a microscope. Continue reading