Voters across one Florida county have signalled their approval for releasing genetically modified mosquitoes in a bid to fight Zika virus. But in a separate poll, the town where officials plan to carry out a scientific trial, voted to reject the proposal.
The planned release is being seen as an important test for the technology’s acceptance in the US. Florida has reported more than 1,100 cases of Zika this year.
British biotech firm Oxitec plans to evaluate the effectiveness of their engineered mosquitoes for combating the virus. They want to release male insects across a 17-hectare region of Key Haven, a small suburb located on an island on Florida’s southern tip.
About 58% of voters across Monroe County favoured the trial. But in Key Haven, some 65% opposed the release.