Biotech Updates

Brazil Releases Genetically Modified Mosquitoes to Combat Dengue Cases

March 13, 2024

Photo Source: Oxitec

Scientists in Brazil have released genetically modified mosquitoes in an attempt to alleviate the soaring number of dengue cases in the country. Within two months, the country recorded more than 973,000 cases of dengue and the city of Suzano, in the Brazilian state of Sao Paulo, declared a state of emergency earlier in February this year.

The British biotechnology company Oxitec developed genetically modified male mosquitoes, which carry a gene that kills female offspring before reaching their maturity. Only female Aedes aegypti mosquitoes carry dengue fever and spread the virus to people. Hence, releasing modified mosquitoes could help reduce the population of mosquitoes in the country.

Brazil adopted this method and placed the eggs of modified male mosquitoes in boxes with water to prompt hatching. According to Natalia Ferreira, Oxitec's general manager in Brazil, "They complete the cycle inside these boxes in about ten days, and the adult insects come out to do their work.” This method could reduce the population by up to 90%. Rodrigo Ashiuchi, the major of Suzano City, said, "We hope that the next measurement will show a reduction of 20% so that we can get out of this state of emergency."

For more information, visit the Oxitec website and read more from Reuters.

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