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Congratulations to Grand Cayman and Oxitec

October 11, 2010 - 10:15 -- Mark Benedict


Kudos to the government of Grand Cayman, the Mosquito Research and Control Unit and Oxitec for conducting trials of an Oxitec GM mosquito for control of Aedes aegypti. While the effectiveness of the trials is yet to be publicized, such real-world tests are necessary to determine whether this specific technique has potential for safe implementation.
As I have emphasized previously, initial trials of such technology will require partners who can independently and proactively determine the desirability and safety of conducting the trials. Such partners must have the ability to act as they see fit for the welfare of their citizens. If too many cooks can spoil a simple soup, they can more surely crush innovation.

Hopefully this is the first of many similar trials in which genetic and GM anti-vector methods are tested. At the end of the day, none may succeed. If so, the hubbub surrounding genetic control of mosquitoes will disappear. If not, we will be applauding those who had the judgment, foresight and confidence to recognize that the real benefits could outweigh the speculative risks.