Press Release: Evolva Expanding Its Nootkatone Research To Include Mosquitoes That Transmit Zika And Other Viruses

evolva logoData show potential for nootkatone to kill and repel mosquitoes that transmit Zika

Evolva (SIX:EVE) announces that it is expanding its current work with the US Centers for Disease Control (CDC) to research nootkatone’s effectiveness in tick-control to include an additional focus on mosquitoes, including those that transmit Zika, chikungunya, dengue, and West Nile viruses.  CDC research has shown nootkatone both repels and kills the yellow fever mosquito, Aedes aegypti, and the black-legged tick, Ixodes scapularis which transmits Lyme disease.

Nootkatone can be extracted in minute quantities from the skin of grapefruit or the bark of the Alaska yellow cedar (also known as the Nootka cypress), or produced on an industrial scale from brewing via yeast fermentation.  Evolva and the CDC are partners in the co-development of insect control products containing nootkatone based on Evolva fermentation technology.  Nootkatone has potential for use against some of the most important arthropod vectors of human pathogens, including Ixodes tick vectors of Lyme disease and Aedes mosquito vectors of chikungunya, dengue, and Zika viruses.

Evolva is currently performing all necessary safety and efficacy studies to get nootkatone approved by the US Environmental Protection Agency initially as a repellent against the blacklegged tick, mosquitos and other target insects in the USA.  Evolva is also investigating other geographies.

Evolva began assessing nootkatone’s ability to repel and/or kill the Aedes aegypti mosquito, the main mosquito vector responsible for the spread of Zika virus, when the global public health community, led by the World Health Organisation (WHO), sounded the alarm about the spread and impact of Zika virus.  The WHO has since declared Zika virus a global public health emergency.  Preliminary studies on nootktatone have been conducted in the US and Europe. Further confirmatory studies will soon be underway in the US.

Nootkatone appears to have a mode of action distinct from that of currently used pesticides and therefore could potentially be valuable for mitigating pesticide resistance in mosquito vectors. Nootkatone already occurs in the natural environment and has an established track record as a flavor and fragrance ingredient, providing attractive characteristics in a number of respects.

“In addition to the ticks that transmit Lyme disease, we believe that nootkatone could play an important role in the global response to the spread of Zika virus,” said Evolva CEO Neil Goldsmith.  “We look forward to an expanded partnership with US government health authorities.”

About Evolva
Evolva is a pioneer and global leader in sustainable, fermentation-based approaches to ingredients for health, wellness and nutrition. Evolva’s products include stevia, resveratrol, vanillin, nootkatone and saffron. As well as developing its own proprietary ingredients, Evolva also deploys its technology for partners, providing them with a competitive edge and sharing in the returns they make. For more information see  Questions about our fermentation approach? Have a look at our video.

About nootkatone
Nootkatone is a citrus ingredient that is characteristically associated with grapefruit.  It can be extracted in minute quantities from the skin of grapefruit or the bark of the Alaska yellow cedar (also known as the Nootka cypress), or produced on an industrial scale from brewing via yeast fermentation.  Nootkatone is being tested against a variety of biting and nuisance pests, notably the ticks that are responsible for spreading Lyme disease, but also the mosquitoes contributing to the spread of Zika, chikungunya, dengue and West Nile viruses, as well as head lice, bed bugs, and other biting insects.

About Lyme disease and Zika virus
Lyme disease is caused by the bacterium Borrelia burgdorferi and is transmitted to humans through the bite of infected blacklegged ticks.  Typical symptoms include fever, headache, fatigue, and a characteristic skin rash called erythema migrans.  If left untreated, infection can spread to joints, the heart, and the nervous system.
Zika virus disease (Zika) is a disease caused by Zika virus that is spread to people primarily through the bite of an infected Aedes species mosquito.  The most common symptoms of Zika are fever, rash, joint pain, and conjunctivitis (red eyes).  Because the symptoms of Zika are similar to those of many other diseases, many cases may not have been recognized.

In May 2015, the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) issued an alert regarding the first confirmed Zika virus infection in Brazil and on Feb 1, 2016, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared Zika virus a public health emergency of international concern (PHEIC).  Local transmission has been reported in many other countries and territories.  Zika virus likely will continue to spread to new areas.

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