In the city of Piracicaba (Brazil, state of são Paulo), he opened a private laboratory to produce genetically modified mosquitoes of the species Aedes aegypti to combat the spread of dangerous viruses.
The Aedes aegypti mosquito is known as the main vector of zika virus, dengue, and chikungunya. The first can lead to microcephaly (reducing the skull) of the fetus in pregnant women and severe neurological complications (Guillain-Barre syndrome). In the beginning of this year, the world health organization declared that the spread of the disease in the territories of North and South America — emergency of international scope.
New premises, a total area of 5000 square meters, is designed to create up to 60 million insect mutants in a week. According to the Director of British biotechnology company oxitec mosquitoes oxitec, which owns this project, this method can significantly reduce the number of mosquito vectors. If necessary, production will be expanded.
Themselves genetically modified mosquitoes are completely harmless, they do not bite and do not spread the virus, but their offspring die before time to reach sexual maturity. Producing lab-grown individuals to habitats of Aedes aegypti, scientists intend to reduce the population by more than 90 %. The experiments conducted in the Cayman Islands, Brazil and Panama have confirmed the effectiveness of the method.
As told the head of the oxitec mosquitoes oxitec Glen Slade, laboratory mosquitoes will not only have a special gene that adversely affect the health of the offspring, but also a special fluorescent label for tracking in a natural environment and evaluation of the results of the experiment.