Biotech Mosquitoes Can Help to Regain Ground in Fight Against Malaria

Florence Banoba,  East News,  2024.

In response to the recent opinion articles that ran in the National print and online media in the last couple of days (1st and 5th February, 2024), regarding the use of GMO technology as a tool in the fight against malaria, I wish to address the writer’s broad-brush dismissal of the significance of genetic modification technologies in combating malaria.  It is crucial, from the outset, to clarify a fundamental distinction overlooked in the article between Gene-drive and Self-limiting technologies in addressing this global health challenge.  As rightly stated in that article, gene-drive technology refers to a genetic engineering technique that aims to spread a particular gene throughout a population at an accelerated rate. The primary objective would be to either suppress a mosquito population or reduce its ability to transmit malaria. Under this method, the introduced mosquitoes are designed to stay in the environment for long.  In contrast, self-limiting technology involves the introduction of genetically modified organisms which possess traits designed to limit their population growth. This technology focuses on controlling or suppressing the modified organisms themselves.

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