Edinburg, TX (May 10, 2021) – Diseases caused by mosquitoes – the World’s Deadliest Animal, are prevalent in tropical and sub-tropical regions of the United States like South Texas. It is estimated that mosquitoes infect over 700 million people worldwide and cause the death of over one million people each year. Deadly diseases transmitted by mosquitoes include (among others) malaria, dengue, West Nile Virus, yellow fever, Zika fever and chikungunya.

Of the many species of mosquitoes, female Aedes aegypti is the primary vector that is responsible for transmission of several diseases and has been most extensively studied. The efforts of the World Health Organization and the Center for Disease Control and Prevention to prevent and/or control mosquito-borne illness have yielded success, but it remains a serious global challenge. More recently, several approaches to create transgenic mosquitoes with the ultimate objective of preventing and/or controlling mosquito-borne illness have undergone field studies. Infecting Aedes aegypti mosquitoes with different strains of Wolbachia resulted in the reduction of egg laying rates, transmission ability and shorter lifespan. Similarly, using genetic technology, a self-limiting strain of Aedes aegypti male mosquitoes (OX513A) when released in the field have shown an 81%-95% suppression of population of this strain as compared to adjacent no-release control field.

“These encouraging results prompted the issuance of authorization by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for the use of second generation genetically modified Aedes aegypti mosquitoes (OX5034) in Florida and Texas” said Sohail Rao, MD, MA, DPhil, President and Chief Executive Officer, DHR Health Institute for Research & Development. “As the first-ever use of genetically modified mosquitoes in the United States, over 750 million OX5034 will be ultimately released in the Florida Keys an area devastated by mosquito-borne illnesses”.

Since 2019, over one billion genetically modified mosquitoes have been successfully released in parts of Brazil, Cayman Islands, Panama, and India to control Aedes aegypti. In all of these studies, there has been no evidence of any harmful effects on humans, animals and/or the environment. The implications for the success of the use of genetically modified mosquitoes are self-evident, and its use must be seriously contemplated for South Texas which also has a very high incidence of mosquito-borne diseases.

To get more information and/or to refer your patient, please contact (956)362-8047 or (956)362-2390 or visit dhrresearch.org

About DHR Health for Research & Development

DHR Health Institute for Research & Development, is a nonprofit organized under the Federal Internal Revenue Service Code 501(c)(3). As the largest and the most comprehensive entity conducting translational and clinical research in South Texas, DHR Health Institute for Research and Development leads the way in bringing innovative, state-of-the-art advanced treatment options for our patients in the community. DHR Health Institute for Research and Development provides oversight of translational and clinical research in DHR Health – Edinburgh, DHR Health – Brownsville, Starr County Memorial Hospital, and all clinics under Renaissance Medical Foundation. To learn more, visit our website at www.dhrresearch.org.

About DHR Health

DHR Health was founded in 1997 to help over 1.4 million residents resolve limited health care access challenges in a community that lacked public and county hospitals. Today, it is a modern, 500+ bed full-service health system serving over 280,000 patients annually, with 5500+ employees, over 650 physicians and more than 1,400 nurses dedicated to offering a full continuum of care in over 70 different specialties and subspecialties. DHR Health proudly boasts the best specialty care in the region, a 24/7 functioning level-one trauma center, a robust clinical research division, and developing graduate medical education programs. DHR Health has revolutionized the health care landscape of the Rio Grande Valley and continues to raise the standard of care and transform the health care delivery model for the benefit all local residents. To learn more, visit our website at www.dhrhealth.com