Does Gene Technology Offer Potential to Wipe Out Malaria?

Anonymous,  AFIDEP,  2021.

The persisting high numbers of Malaria deaths and illnesses mean that the current tools will not get us to zero Malaria. For this reason, experts have continued to explore new tools for Malaria elimination. The gene drive technology is one of the tools being explored for Malaria elimination in Africa. The technology, developed in the past decade, enables precise editing of the genes of living organisms. For Malaria, the technology could be applied to modify the genes of Malaria-causing mosquitoes (the Anopheles) to either reduce their survival or deactivate genes that enable them to carry the Malaria parasite. If successfully applied, scientists believe that gene drive mosquitoes could significantly accelerate the path to Malaria elimination, or zero Malaria. In 2017, the African Union recognized the potential of the gene drive technology in controlling and eliminating Malaria on the continent, and committed to invest in the development and regulation of the technology. This commitment is being implemented by the African Union Development Agency (AUDA/NEPAD), which is currently spearheading efforts to build capacity and support countries to establish the necessary regulatory framework for guiding the research to test the gene drive technology for elimination of Malaria on the continent.

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