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Jalna co awaits Govt nod for field trials of anti-dengue tech

Press Trust of India  |  Jalna 

A local private firm is awaiting the Government's permission to conduct field trials of a breakthrough technology that is aimed at controlling population of 'Aedes aegypti', the female mosquito responsible for transmitting dengue and chikungunya.

Jalna-based Gangabishan Bhikulal Investment and Trading (GBIT) is testing the technology, developed by British company Oxitec, which can eliminate 'Aedes aegypti' through generically-modified (GM) male mosquito.

Shaibal Dasgupta, a top scientist with GBIT, claimed that when the OX513A, a genetically engineered male mosquito, mates its female counterpart, the gene is passed on to the offspring, which do not survive beyond the larva stage'.

The progeny does not survive till adulthood and they die a natural death which helps in controlling the mosquito- transmitted diseases over a period of time, he said.

GBIT is awaiting Government's permission to conduct field trials of this technology, which has already been released in Brazil and is at an advance stage of approval in other countries, Dasgupta said.

He said GBIT is optimistic the Government will provide an enabling environment for its eventual release in India.

The company said the genetically engineered male mosquito will suppress the mosquito population to a level at which it cannot spread diseases.

This technology is not only environment-friendly but also effective in controlling the rising health menace caused by mosquitoes, Dasgupta said.

According to a WHO report, every year 7,25,000 people are affected by mosquito-borne diseases globally and a large number of people die due to dengue in India. Hence, this technology assumes a greater importance for our country, he added.

According to GBIT's website, the company is investing in and incubating novel ideas related to human health and agriculture. It is founded by Badrinarayan Barwale, who set up Maharashtra Hybrid Seeds Company Ltd (MAHYCO) - a pioneer in high quality production of hybrid/open-pollinated seeds.

First Published: Fri, January 22 2016. 01:57 IST