Oxitec partners with CSIRO, Australia's national science agency, to launch development of a Friendly™ solution for the invasive, dengue-spreading Asian tiger mosquito

PR Newswire · 09/26/2023 15:00
  • In partnership with CSIRO, Australia's national science agency, Oxitec will initiate development of a Friendly™ solution for the invasive, disease-spreading Asian tiger mosquito, Aedes albopictus.
  • Oxitec and CSIRO have launched the new partnership to combat this major public health threat to communities in the Pacific region and beyond, and to protect against invasion of the Australian mainland.
  • Aedes albopictus is an aggressive mosquito that transmits dangerous viral diseases - including dengue, Chikungunya and yellow fever - and has spread across much of the world, posing a threat to billions of people.

OXFORD, England, Sept. 26, 2023 /PRNewswire/ -- Oxitec Ltd, the leading developer of insect-based biological solutions to control pests that transmit disease, destroy crops and harm livestock, today announced the launch of development of a targeted, biological Friendly™ solution for the invasive Asian tiger mosquito, Aedes albopictus, which transmits debilitating and dangerous viral diseases such as Dengue, Chikungunya and Zika.

This development program, funded by CSIRO, will enable development of a Friendly™ Aedes albopictus – a safe, effective, and self-limiting strain of the mosquito that results in non-biting, non-disease transmitting male mosquitoes – in Oxitec's UK R&D facilities. This is the first step towards delivering an urgently needed, highly effective biological solution for Aedes albopictus in the Pacific region and beyond.

In addition to posing a major disease risk to billions of people, the Aedes albopictus mosquito is an aggressive daytime biter, causing major nuisance and hindering outdoor activities in many parts of the world. Infamous for being spread globally via international shipping, car tyres and ornamental 'lucky bamboo', Aedes albopictus continues to invade new territories. Experts predict that if it continues to spread uncontrolled it will pose a disease threat to more than 6 billion people. Aedes albopictus is absent from mainland Australia but is present in neighbouring islands widely distributed across the Indo-Pacific region, where it causes regular disease outbreaks.

Oxitec's safe, sustainable and targeted biological pest control technology is ideally and uniquely suited to control this public health threat. Oxitec's Friendly™ solutions are harmless to local ecosystems, are species-specific, and are already proven to control the disease-transmitting Aedes aegypti mosquito – another invasive, disease vector - by up to 96% in dengue-prone urban communities. The Friendly™ Aedes aegypti is now being sold to households, businesses and governments across Brazil in just-add-water devices.

Working with local communities impacted by this disease vector, CSIRO and Oxitec will work in partnership to deploy the technology in vulnerable regions once completed.

Grey Frandsen, Oxitec's CEO, commented, "We're proud to be entering into a partnership with one of the world's preeminent scientific institutions to take on the Asian tiger mosquito, which poses a danger to billions of people around the world. And climate change is only going to help it spread further. We're ready to join the fight against this mosquito and we're grateful for the support of and strong partnership with CSIRO, with whom we're united in our commitment to deliver ground-breaking solutions to help communities most in need."

Kelly Matzen, Oxitec's Chief Technology Officer, added, "Our world-class team of experts is excited to start work on a solution for Aedes albopictus. We're developing end-to-end solutions for some of the world's most dangerous mosquitoes – something we're deeply passionate about - and we're ready to translate the proven success of our Friendly™ platform to deliver impact against this globally important disease vector."

CSIRO's Dr Brendan Trewin said "Alongside Oxitec, we aim to develop a non-toxic, insecticide-free, and environmentally sustainable vector control tool that is safe for humans, animals, crops, and the environment. It has potential to improve the health of communities in Australia and the Pacific regions, reduce public health impacts, and limit the spread of mosquito-borne diseases within the region."

About Oxitec

Oxitec is the leading developer of biological solutions to control pests that transmit disease, destroy crops and harm livestock. Founded in 2002 at the University of Oxford, Oxitec is led by a passionate team comprised of 15 nationalities and is supported by world-class public, private and non-profit partners.

Learn more at oxitec.com


As Australia's national science agency and innovation catalyst, CSIRO solves the greatest challenges through innovative science and technology. We work with organisations large and small, delivering world-leading research and development solutions.

With 5,000 experts, state-of-the-art facilities, and a global collaborative research network we bring together the best and brightest minds to drive strategic growth and overcome unique business challenges like no other.

CSIRO. Unlocking a better future for everyone. 

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