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Mosquito Release

The British firm Oxitec is releasing genetically modified mosquitos in the Florida Keys in hopes of controlling the Aedes aegypti population, the Miami Herald reports. Ae. aegypti, it notes, can spread diseases like Zika, dengue fever, and chikungunya.

The project has been a long-running source of controversy in the region. A trial of the mosquitos was put on hold in 2016 following local opposition, though voters in Monroe County, Fl., which includes the Florida Keys, later that year voted in favor of the test in a non-binding referendum. Oxitec then garnered all the federal, state, and local approvals it needed for the trial last year.

According to NBC News, Oxitec is to release nearly 144,000 mosquitos, all of which are male and do not bite. These male mosquitos will then mate with wild female ones — which do bite — and their resulting female offspring won't survive, leading to a smaller Ae. aegypti population size.

"As we are seeing development of resistance to some of our current control methods, we are in need of new tools to combat this mosquito," says Andrea Leal, executive director of the Florida Keys Mosquito Control District, in a press release.

The Scan

Not Immediately Told

The US National Institutes of Health tells lawmakers that one of its grantees did not immediately report that it had developed a more infectious coronavirus, Science says.

Seems Effective in Kids

The Associated Press reports that the Pfizer-BioNTech SARS-CoV-2 vaccine for children appears to be highly effective at preventing symptomatic disease.

Intelligence Warning on Bioeconomy Threats

US intelligence warns over China's focus on technologies and data related to the bioeconomy, the New York Times reports.

PLOS Papers on Campylobacteriosis Sources, Inherited Retinal Dystrophies, Liver Cancer Prognosis

In PLOS this week: approach to uncover source of Campylobacteriosis, genetic risk factors for inherited retinal dystrophies, and more.