2021 WHO guidelines on genetically modified mosquitoes

M. Makoni,  The Lancet Microbe,  2:e353. 2021.

On May 19, 2021, WHO updated its guidelines for research and development on genetically modified mosquitoes, which define the standards for decision-making about how and when testing should proceed and describe best practices to ensure that research done in a public health context is safe, ethical, and rigorous. TDR, WHO’s Special Programme for Research and Training in Tropical Diseases, and the GeneConvene Global Collaborative, an initiative of the Foundation for the National Institutes of Health, developed the updated guidelines building on the 2014 recommendations, integrating the latest advancements in mosquito genetic modification. “Vector-borne diseases are a major global public health issue. Over 100 countries are endemic for diseases such as dengue, malaria, and Zika. Dengue alone puts 2·5 billion people at risk”, says John Reeder (TDR and Department of Research for Health, WHO). Attacking the mosquitoes is an effective way of controlling the transmission of these diseases, but it is a massive task. “We are badly in need of new technologies that will change the game and allow effective, widespread control”, Reeder told The Lancet Microbe.

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