Mosquitoes Shoot Blanks in Scientist’s Air War on Dengue – BloombergPosted: May 9, 2012
Oxitec has released its GM bugs in Malaysia, the Cayman Islands and Brazil. A proposed trial in Key West has met with resistance from communities who oppose genetic modification and with confusion over regulatory oversight. Still, with no vaccines to prevent dengue and no drugs to treat the disease so painful it’s known as “break-bone fever,” the approach is seen as an increasingly viable option to limit infections.
“It is a promising technology,” says James Logan, a lecturer at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine who studies the control of disease-carrying insects. “If you stop us being bitten, you stop the disease from being transmitted.”
Oxitec’s efforts are part of a broader push to rein in dengue. Novartis AG (NOVN) of Basel, Switzerland, is researching antiviral medicines and has shelved one that caused side effects in dogs. French drugmaker Sanofi (SAN) has a dengue vaccine candidate in final testing, and it may be available as early as 2015. The company says the vaccine may generate as much as 1 billion euros ($1.3 billion) in annual sales. Until a vaccine or medicine is approved, mosquito control is the only way to limit infections.