GERMANTOWN, Md., Feb. 23, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- Intrexon Corporation (NYSE: XON), a leader in synthetic biology, today commended the Resident Commissioner of Puerto Rico, Pedro Pierluisi, for his leadership in urging the U.S. Federal Government to take swift and proactive steps to eradicate Aedes aegypti mosquitoes that transmit Zika, chikungunya, dengue and other viruses to humans. "Mosquito-borne viruses like Zika, chikungunya and dengue have had profoundly negative effects in Puerto Rico, and such problems will persist unless an innovative new approach is taken," stated the Resident Commissioner.
In a statement, Mr. Pierluisi says use of new technology to suppress the Aedes aegypti mosquito should be considered and highlighted recent consultation with independent experts on a promising technology, namely genetically-modified mosquitoes, which has been deployed successfully in countries such as Brazil, Panama and the Cayman Islands. He urged federal officials to "examine, carefully but expeditiously, new technologies that could eradicate Zika, chikungunya and dengue in Puerto Rico and other U.S. jurisdictions, and then help fund the deployment of such technologies if necessary."
Through its subsidiary, Oxitec, Intrexon is utilizing pioneering technology to combat the threat of Aedes aegypti mosquitoes. The Oxitec solution utilizes male mosquitoes, which do not bite and therefore do not transmit disease, and genetically engineers them to carry a self-limiting gene. After an Oxitec male mosquito has successfully mated with a wild female, offspring will not survive to adulthood, so the mosquito population declines.
Approved for commercial release in 2014 by Brazil's National Technical Commission for Biosafety (CTNBio), Oxitec's mosquitoes, which precisely target the disease-transmitting vector, provide a safe approach to prevent infections with no adverse impact to the environment. Efficacy trials in Brazil, Panama, and the Cayman Islands have shown decreases in the population of Aedes aegypti of greater than 90%. Oxitec is already supplying its proprietary mosquito control solution in the municipality of Piracicaba, Brazil.
Intrexon also expressed its support for Puerto Rico in its efforts to defeat an invasive species that places the island's population at risk for some of the most damaging viruses to the public's health. "Dengue and chikungunya are already a significant hardship for the 3.5 million people of Puerto Rico, and the prospects of Zika will only add to their burdens. We believe our technology targeting Aedes aegypti, which transmits all of these diseases, can play a major role in ending these great epidemics, and the immiseration of populations, caused by this vector across the globe," said Samuel Broder, M.D., Senior Vice President and Head of Intrexon's Health Sector. "We applaud Mr. Pierluisi's call for the U.S. Federal Government to support innovative ways of suppressing the population of Aedes aegypti mosquitoes for the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico."
Oxitec is the only GM insect company in the world and a pioneer in using genetic engineering to control insect pests that spread disease and damage crops. Oxitec was founded in 2002 as a spinout from Oxford University (UK), and is now a subsidiary of Intrexon Corporation (NYSE: XON), which engineers biology to help solve some of the world's biggest problems. Oxitec's self-limiting insect control targets only the one species of pest in a way that is non-toxic and pesticide-free, providing vector control that is both effective and environmentally friendly. Follow us on Twitter at @Oxitec.
About Intrexon Corporation Intrexon Corporation (NYSE: XON) is Powering the Bioindustrial Revolution with Better DNA™ to create biologically-based products that improve the quality of life and the health of the planet. The Company's integrated technology suite provides its partners across diverse markets with industrial-scale design and development of complex biological systems delivering unprecedented control, quality, function, and performance of living cells. We call our synthetic biology approach Better DNA®, and we invite you to discover more at www.dna.com or follow us on Twitter at @Intrexon.
Trademarks Intrexon, Powering the Bioindustrial Revolution with Better DNA, and Better DNA are trademarks of Intrexon and/or its affiliates. Other names may be trademarks of their respective owners.
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