This is a big deal from the Grand Cayman Islands!
Many of you have been shocked to hear that GM mosquitoes have been released in at least 4 countries, and some are hoping to release them in the US. Designed to reduce the population of the variety that carries dengue and zika, this ticking time bomb uses highly risky technology with very little safety testing.
The Cayman Islands was planning a full island release with Oxitec, the UK-based makers of the GM insects, and IRT got quite active in working to expose the dangers and block the release.
We have just been informed that the Mosquito Research and Control Unit has admitted that it has stopped the release of Oxitec’s GM male Aedes aegypti mosquitoes in Grand Caymans, claiming that it is moving into a monitoring phase just a few months after it entered a deal with the bio-engineering firm in May. No reasons were given for the early end to the release of the GM mosquitoes but there are reports that the project has already failed.
Oxitec had a major investment and stake in Grand Caymans as its primary proving grounds but now has reportedly fired everyone and packed up, leaving the island.
The authorities in GC have not been forthcoming about the reason the release was terminated but a freedom of information document released months ago showed that the trial was a failure. The government-sponsored a second trial, which may have also failed. We hope to find out the truth and get it out so other countries considering the mosquitoes, like the US and Burkina Faso, will not be duped by Oxitec. Stay tuned!