LONDON, March 22, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- The University of Panama held a 'Forum on Transgenic Mosquitoes' on Wednesday 21st March 2012. Unfortunately, all members of the panel at this event have previously registered on repeated occasions as entrenched opposition to the use of transgenic technologies, ensuring that a balanced and productive discussion could not take place. Oxitec, which in 2010 entered into a partnership with the Gorgas Institute in Panama to evaluate a new approach to combating the Dengue mosquito, Aedes aegypti, is disappointed not to have been granted the opportunity to participate fully on this occasion.
At Oxitec we recognise that openness, transparency and public discourse are central to the success of our approach. Oxitec is happy to engage in this process. We hope that in future all public debate will take into account the need for a balanced discussion.
Hadyn Parry, CEO of Oxitec, said:
"As with any new technology, our approach should be examined through expert review and the regulatory process. Experts need to be able to ask questions, and regulators need to determine the conditions for trials. Oxitec is no exception. We see our approach as potentially being an important part in the fight against Dengue. We are fully committed to the evaluation process and engaging with the public, media and experts. "
To this end, we have taken a number of steps, including:
- Organization and participation in technical symposia (2009/2010) involving a range of Panamanian and international stakeholders to debate the use of transgenic mosquitoes in Panama as part of a World Health Organisation (WHO) project on genetic control methods against mosquito vectors in disease endemic countries.
- The organization of a technical symposium (which took place on October 26th , 2011) involving Panamanian academics, government officials, the Pan-American Health Organization and community leaders to debate the use of transgenic mosquitoes in Panama.
- The organization of a community meeting in Nuevo Chorillo (an area of interest), which took place on November 8th, 2011. This event had an open invitation which allowed us to explain our approach and discuss issues and concerns with members of the public and contribute to media coverage at a local and national level.
- Complete compliance with Panama's legislation, including the filling of permit applications and detailed briefings (both in writing and in person) presented to national regulatory bodies.
Oxitec is committed to a fully open and transparent relationship with all who wish to find out more about our solutions. Please send any questions to [email protected], or media enquiries to [email protected], tel : +44 (0) 1235 832 393
Notes to editors:
About Oxitec (www.oxitec.com)
Oxitec is a British company pioneering a new approach to combating dengue fever. The Oxitec solution harnesses advanced genetics to create 'sterile' male insects to combat insect-borne diseases. Dengue fever, which at conservative estimate infects at least 50 million people a year, is a growing problem in Panama and across the globe. Currently, mosquito populations are controlled by chemical pesticides which are indiscriminate and have not stopped the spread of the disease. The Oxitec approach has the potential to make a major contribution to global health by combating insects responsible for serious diseases such as dengue fever.