Genetically modified mosquitoes combat Zika virus in Brazil

2016-01-20 09:27

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Sao Paulo - Test results released by a British biotech firm suggest that genetically modified mosquitoes could help Brazil combat the Zika virus.

The South American nation is scrambling to contain the spread of Zika, which has been linked to birth defects including microcephaly, a rare condition in which newborns have smaller than normal heads.

The Oxitec biotech firm said on Tuesday that tests that began in April 2015 showed that the release of genetically modified sterile male mosquitoes reduced wild Aedes aegypti mosquito larvae by 82 percent by year's end in a neighborhood of the city of Piracicaba.

The genetically modified mosquitoes don't spread disease because only females bite.

Piracicaba's health department confirms the tests and results. Mosquito control expert Joseph Conlon called the results "novel and potentially efficacious."

Read more on:    brazil  |  insects  |  zika virus  |  health

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