On November 4, Malaria Partners International will be hosting a webinar on genetically modified mosquitoes and the future of mosquito control for disease prevention. The highly anticipated event will provide an overview of Oxitec’s work and the Oxitec Mosquito Project, a collaborative endeavour designed to evaluate the effectiveness of Oxitec’s genetically modified mosquitoes as a control tool for the invasive Aedes aegypti mosquito population in the Florida Keys, United States.
Aedes aegypti mosquitoes are responsible for the transmission of diseases such as Zika virus, dengue, chikungunya and yellow fever and have become an increasingly global threat, with existing control methods failing to prevent the spread of disease. To address these challenges, Oxitec has developed genetically modified male mosquitoes designed to suppress local wild populations. The insects contain a self-limiting gene, a copy of which gets passed on to their offspring when they mate with wild female mosquitoes, preventing females from surviving to adulthood. The first release of Oxitec’s genetically modified mosquitoes in the United States took place this year, following releases in other parts of the world such as Brazil, Panama and the Cayman Islands.
The virtual webinar will cover this and other developments in Oxitec’s work, with a focus on regulatory challenges and the future of genetic approaches for vector control. The event will feature a diverse panel of speakers, including the Director of US Programs at Oxitec Dr. Rajeev Vaidyanathan and Oxitec’s Head of Global Public Affairs Meredith Fensom.