Metaculus Help: Spread the word
If you like Metaculus, tell your friends! Share this question via Facebook, Twitter, or Reddit.
Will the FDA approve GMO mosquitos for widespread release?
Oxitec, a UK-based synthetic biology company specializing in infectious vector control, has been a focus of major news outlets since the recent spike in human Zika virus cases in South America. The mosquito species Aedes aegypti has been identified as the primary carrier of Zika and several other pathogens including dengue fever. Oxitec's brand of "self-limiting" GMO Aedes aegypti has passed regulatory approval in several countries in central and South America, and has since shown significant efficacy in attenuating the population within targeted regions. Brazil has recently begun expanding Oxitec's vector control program, which they started in 2012.
The US state of Florida is now following suit with their own investigative trials into GMO mosquito control. Mosquito transmissions of Zika and dengue do not necessarily pose an imminent threat to the North American region, although there have been several recently-reported cases of transmission due to human-to-human contact. Aedes aegypti is nonetheless an invasive, non-native species. Whether for cost reduction, preemptive disease control, agricultural protection, or other environmental concerns, the US government has selected Oxitec's "friendly Aedes aegypti" as a candidate in the Florida Keys.
The proof-of-concept experiment to show efficacy and environmental impact is being conducted in Key Haven, an island in the Florida Keys. Oxitec announced in a press release on March 11th that the FDA's Center for Veterinary Medicine had determined that the GM mosquito trial yielded "no significant impact" on the greater ecology of the area; information on the efficacy of the trial on the mosquito population is not yet released. The FDA report is open to comments until early April.
Will the FDA approve expanded use of Oxitec's self-limiting mosquitos for Aedes aegypti population control in the United States by September 1, 2016?
To resolve positively, the official approval by the FDA (which may be announced by the FDA itself or a credible media outlet) must occur by 9/1/16, and allow use of Oxitec mosquitos throughout all of at least one US state.
Metaculus help: Predicting
Predictions are the heart of Metaculus. Predicting is how you contribute to the wisdom of the crowd, and how you earn points and build up your personal Metaculus track record.
The basics of predicting are very simple: move the slider to best match the likelihood of the outcome, and click predict. You can predict as often as you want, and you're encouraged to change your mind when new information becomes available.
The displayed score is split into current points and total points. Current points show how much your prediction is worth now, whereas total points show the combined worth of all of your predictions over the lifetime of the question. The scoring details are available on the FAQ.
Note: this question resolved before its original close time. All of your predictions came after the resolution, so you did not gain (or lose) any points for it.
Note: this question resolved before its original close time. You earned points up until the question resolution, but not afterwards.
This question is not yet open for predictions.
Metaculus help: Community Stats
Use the community stats to get a better sense of the community consensus (or lack thereof) for this question. Sometimes people have wildly different ideas about the likely outcomes, and sometimes people are in close agreement. There are even times when the community seems very certain of uncertainty, like when everyone agrees that event is only 50% likely to happen.
When you make a prediction, check the community stats to see where you land. If your prediction is an outlier, might there be something you're overlooking that others have seen? Or do you have special insight that others are lacking? Either way, it might be a good idea to join the discussion in the comments.
Embed this question
You can use the below code snippet to embed this question on your own webpage. Feel free to change the height and width to suit your needs.