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Development of recommendations to authorize the release of irradiated sterile mosquitoes for the purposes of vector control

The HCSP has been seized upon a request concerning the development of recommendations for the release of male mosquitoes sterilized by irradiation of the species Aedes albopictus, for the purposes of vector control in the Reunion Island, as part of an innovative technique to control the vectors of dengue and chikungunya.

The recommendations address phase 2 of this project which concerns the releases of sterile insect technique (SIT) mosquitoes under controlled natural conditions. The recommendations stress the accessibility of information for everyone to foster acceptance of the SIT and emphasize the fact that information must be provided beforehand, in a clear and transparent manner, taking into account the population’s reactions and concerns. Communication will have to focus on the low risks of this new technology and how these risks are well controlled as demonstrated by preparatory studies, as well as on the expected benefits of this new technology.

At the same time, the HCSP recommends measures for preventing the epidemiological risks for the staff involved in the sterile mosquito breeding and releases, and the general population, as well as the technological and ecological risks. HCSP also recommends ensuring that the population continues to follow the preventive classical measures already applied for vector control.
An assessment of the impact of the communication campaign, in terms of the acceptance of the population and of the effectiveness of SIT on the density of Ae. albopictus mosquitoes, is recommended at the end of phase 2.

The need for an appropriate regulatory framework relevant for this new technology is underlined.

Finally, it is recommended that phase 2 of the project should not be launched, before the end of the ongoing dengue epidemic.

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