FDA Says Yes!
As discussed on EDM Digest earlier this week, a British based company has been petitioning the FDA for approval on the release of genetically modified (GM) mosquitoes in an attempt to eradicate Zika virus. The FDA has been deliberating on the environmental impact the release of the OX513A would have and the results are in.
The FDA, after reviewing the submitted environmental assessment (EA) by Oxitec and all public comments, determined a final finding of no significant impact. This takes the potential field trials of the OX513A to the next level.
Not So Fast!
The FDA said yes, but Oxitec must still obtain the approval of their local partner, the Florida Keys Mosquito Control District. The next big day will be in November as the people of Key Haven, projected "testing" site of the OX513A, will vote and give their opinion and say on the issue.
The vote is non-binding to whether or not the field trial will continue forward, though it is election year and three of the five officials have pledged to follow the popular opinion of the people.
Oxitec’s Chief Executive Officer Hadyn Parry released a statement on Friday following the FDA's publication, stating: “We’ve been developing this approach for many years, and from these results we are convinced that our solution is both highly effective and has sound environmental credentials. We’re delighted with the announcement today that the FDA, after their extensive review of our dossier and thousands of public comments for a trial in the Florida Keys, have published their final view that this will not have a significant impact on the environment. We are now looking forward to working with the community in the Florida Keys moving forward.”
The Days Ahead
There has already been great controversy over the potential release of these GM mosquitoes in the small town of Key Haven, FL. Many residents are against the release of these mosquitoes, while others are for doing what ever necessary to stop the spread of Zika.
Come November, two key parts will be revealed: the popular opinion of those involved, and whether the commissioners hold their word to adhering to the wishes given by the citizens they represent.
"The only thing that makes life possible is permanent, intolerable uncertainty; not knowing what comes next" - Ursula K. Le Guin