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November 8, 2016: Miami Beach Asks FDA for Emergency Permission to Release Anti-Zika GMO Mosquitoes

Aerial pesticide spraying has not eradicated the Zika virus in Miami Beach so far, adding fuel to critics who have warned all along that buildings are too tall and ocean breezes too strong for that method to work there.

“So the city is resorting to less conventional methods: Officials have now asked the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to give emergency permission for Miami Beach to release genetically modified mosquitoes to kill off the Zika-carrying bugs.

“City Manager Jimmy Morales writes in a new letter to the Miami Beach Commission that the city has filed a request with the feds to ‘release … genetically engineered mosquito in Miami Beach.’ So far, though, the FDA isn’t allowing the request.

“On October 19, Robert M. Califf, the FDA’s food and drug commissioner, sent Morales a letter denying the request for an “Emergency Use Authorization” in order to use the bugs, which are engineered by the British biotechnology firm Oxitec.

“While he denied the request, Califf didn’t say that Miami Beach is banned from using the mosquitoes outright. Instead, he said the FDA does not have the authority to issue such an order, and instead encouraged Miami Beach to get its mosquitoes directly from Oxitec.

“’We suggest you contact Oxitec directly should you be interested in pursuing an investigational release of the company’s GE mosquitoes,’ Califf writes.

“It’s not clear whether the city will go straight to Oxitec to try to get the GMO mosquitos; a city spokesperson did not respond New Times questions for this story before press time.

Source: Miami New Times

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