Evolva nabs US contract for Zika-battling nootkatone

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In the United States, Evolva has been awarded a government contract to advance its fermentation-based nootkatone for the control of mosquito-born diseases such as Zika.

Nootkatone is shown to kill mosquitos, but could only be extracted naturally in small quantities from the skin of grapefruit or the bark of Alaskan yellow cedar. Evolva’s technology uses yeast to produce the natural chemical in larger quantities.

Evolva says the US Centers of Disease Control contract is worth $8.35 million. The work begins immediately and will run for 18 months.

“Evolva has been working in close collaboration with the CDC on the use of nootkatone against a wide variety of biting pests, such as mosquitoes and ticks that can cause disease,” the company says. “The goal is that nootkatone can one day be used not just against the Aedes aegypti mosquito that transmits Zika virus, but also for the benefit of global public health against other important biting pests, such as Ixodes tick vectors of Lyme disease and the mosquitoes that spread West Nile and other viruses.”