Pandemic postpones Florida Keys’ decision on releasing GMO mosquitoes until August

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The five-member commission of the Florida Keys Mosquito Control District voted unanimously to postpone a decision on the experiment for a month in hopes the COVID-19 pandemic situation improves by then.

The experiment is touted by its creator, international biotech company Oxitec, as a tool to eradicate the local population of the invasive Aedes aegypti mosquito, which transmits deadly diseases like Dengue fever, Zika, chikungunya and yellow fever.

After hearing about 20 people speak against the trial, the commissioners, all of whom support it, said during a meeting [July 21] that the vote should be moved to the next commission meeting Aug. 18.

“There’s a strong amount of people who are against this, and I don’t want to put any more on their plate,” Vice Chair Stanley Zuba said.

Related article:  Tanzania's ban on GMO crop trials will set biotech research back a decade, scientists say

Zuba, a pediatric physician, stressed, however, that he believes in the science behind the project and hopes to see it implemented as the Upper Keys deals with an outbreak of Dengue fever, a dangerous disease that causes extreme flu-like symptoms.

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