As Tuesday's presidential votes were cast, Monroe County, part of the Florida Keys Mosquito Control District also voted to use genetically modified mosquitoes to fight their Zika-carrying cousins. The engineered mosquitoes were courtesy of British biotech company Oxitec, and received approval for trials from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) last August.
Monroe County would be the first in the US to carry out theses trials. Oxitec CEO Hadyn Parry is optimistic, saying that the "ultimate goal of the trial is to prove what we say we can do, which is reduce the population significantly.” Previous reports indicate that these factory-made mosquitoes can effectively reduce Zika-carrying mosquito population by 90%.
Two precincts in the county voted against it, notably Key Haven which was originally intended to be the site for the tests. Phil Goodman, Chairman of the Florida Keys Mosquito Control District, said the trials will continue. "We’ll be looking at where mosquitoes are, and come up with some other sites of where to release them based on where people voted yes,” he said.
The Florida Keys board will vote on November 19 to determine the site of the trials and its starting date. The Oxitec mosquitoes received a 22-month long experimental release period from the FDA.