DATE: 03 February 2022

Oxitec Announces 2022 US Pilot Plans for Mosquito Technology

  • Oxitec, the leading developer of biological pest control solutions, announced that it is pursuing approval by federal and state regulators to implement two pilot projects in the US and is building a new R&D facility in California.
  • In Florida, Oxitec has been invited by its partner, the Florida Keys Mosquito Control District, to continue its landmark pilot project in the Florida Keys.
  • In California, Oxitec is preparing to submit a research request to carry out a pilot project, which is anticipated to be in the city of Visalia, northern Tulare County, in partnership with the Delta Mosquito and Vector Control District.
  • Oxitec’s biological insect control technology is proven to safely control the invasive, disease transmitting Aedes aegypti mosquito species which has been detected in Florida, California and other states in the US.

Oxford, UK: Oxitec, the leading developer of biological pest control solutions, announced its expansion plans for its Aedes aegypti program in the US.

In Florida, where the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) approved a landmark pilot project in 2021, the Florida Keys Mosquito Control District (FKMCD) and Oxitec announced the continuation of their collaboration into 2022, pending further approvals from the EPA and the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.

In California, Oxitec is preparing a request for a research authorization to launch a project, anticipated to be in northern Tulare County, in the City of Visalia. Pending EPA approval, Oxitec will submit a formal application which will be reviewed by California’s Department of Pesticide Regulation (DPR). The DPR’s review will include a scientific evaluation of Oxitec’s Aedes aegypti technology and will include opportunities for the public to engage and review the results of the state’s evaluations.

In anticipation of this research approval, the Delta Mosquito and Vector Control District (Delta MVCD) seven-member elected Board of Trustees issued a unanimous vote of approval in October 2021 to partner with Oxitec to carry out focused projects in areas that are part of the Delta MVCD’s jurisdiction.

Oxitec is also developing an R&D facility in Visalia, which will provide support to Oxitec programs in the US and globally.

In its published approval of Oxitec’s 2021 Florida pilot for this technology, the EPA cited the technology as safe for humans and the environment (EPA’s published announcement).

As it does around the world, Oxitec will work hand-in-hand with its government partners in Florida and California as well as with residents, communities, civic groups, non-profits, businesses, and many other stakeholders who will guide, shape, or contribute to the projects. Oxitec also carries out extensive public engagement efforts, ensuring that each project benefits from broad participation, local leadership, inclusive outreach and education, and opportunities for learning and sharing feedback. These two additional pilot projects will help contribute to Oxitec’s application to the EPA for commercial approval of this technology.

An invasive mosquito species to both Florida and California, Aedes aegypti has the ability to transmit mosquito-borne diseases such as yellow fever, dengue, Zika, chikungunya, and animal heartworm, and continues to spread through the state of California and across the US. Aedes aegypti was first detected in California in 2013 and has spread rapidly to 22 counties since then.

Grey Frandsen, CEO of Oxitec, said: “Our growth in the US is based on our strong partnerships with two outstanding local government agencies and with a large and diverse coalition of stakeholders – from residents who participate in our pilot projects to conservation organizations, small businesses, scientists and teachers, community leaders, and more – who have supported our efforts to bring our safe and effective technology to the US. We’re thankful to our partners and to the communities that have enthusiastically embraced us and look forward to getting to work this year.”

Andrea Leal, Executive Director of the FKMCD, commented: “After a successful start to our project in 2021, we look forward to continuing our partnership with Oxitec. We made significant progress during the pilot project last year, we look forward to continuing this important work during this year’s mosquito season.”

Dr Mustapha Debboun, General Manager of the Delta Mosquito and Vector Control District said: “With mosquito and vector-borne diseases a growing concern in California, we see Oxitec’s technology as an important additional option to control the invasive Aedes aegypti mosquito. We look forward to working in partnership with Oxitec and have been impressed with results from their previous projects in Brazil and the Florida Keys. They have proven the effectiveness that their biological solution can deliver in suppressing this non-native invasive and disease-spreading mosquito.”

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Oxitec welcomes all media inquiries.

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Notes for the media.

About Oxitec’s Aedes aegypti technology:
Oxitec’s non-biting male mosquito was designed to control invasive, disease spreading Aedes aegypti. It has successfully provided significant suppression of the Aedes aegypti in other geographies and does not persist in the environment or cause harm to beneficial insects such as bees and butterflies.

This technology also removes all requirements for adult mosquito-rearing and releases and eliminates the potential for female releases. Combined with other innovations, this technology is anticipated to reduce up to 90% of costs associated with traditional insect release programs.

Similar projects in the Brazilian city of Indaiatuba found that Oxitec’s male mosquito suppressed disease-carrying Aedes aegypti by up to 95% in urban, dengue-prone environments following just 13 weeks of treatment, as compared to untreated control sites in the same city.

About Oxitec

Oxitec is the leading developer of biological solutions to control pests that transmit diseases, destroy crops and harm livestock. Founded in 2002 at the University of Oxford, Oxitec is led by a passionate team comprised of 15 nationalities and is supported by world-class partners.

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