Deployment of innovative genetic vector control strategies: progress on regulatory and biosafety aspects, capacity building and development of best-practice guidance

Beech, CV, S.S.; Quinlan, M.M.; Capurro, Margareth L.; Alphey, L.; Bayard, V.; Bouare, M.; McLeod, M.C.; Kittayapong, P.; Lavery, J.; Lim, L.H.; Marrelli, M.T.; Nagaraju, J.; Ombongi, K.; Othman, R.Y.; Pillai, V.; Ramsey, J.; Reuben, R.; Rose, R.I.; Tyagi, B.K.; Mumford, J.,  AsPac J. Mol. Biol. Biotechnol.,  17:75-85. 2009.

In the ongoing fight against vectors of human diseases, disease endemic countries (DECs) may soon benefit from innovative control strategies involving modified insect vectors. For instance, three promising methods (viz. RIDL® [Release of Insects with a Dominant Lethal], Wolbachia infection, and refractory mosquito technology) are being developed by researchers around the world to combat Aedes aegypti, the primary mosquito vector of viral fevers such as dengue (serotypes 1–4), chikungunya and yellow fever. Some of these techniques are already being extended to other vectors such as Aedes albopictus (the secondary vector of these diseases) and Anopheles mosquito species that transmit malaria. To enable DECs to take advantage of these promising methods, initiatives are underway that relate to biosafety, risk assessment and management, and ethical–social–cultural (ESC) aspects to consider prior to and during the possible deployment of these technologies as part of an integrated vector control programme. This is a brief overview of the objectives and timelines of some of the initiatives being championed by international institutions, including the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Grand Challenges in Global Health (GCGH) initiative co-sponsored by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.