Exploring gene drive’s role in fight against malaria

J. Conrow,  Genetic Literacy Project,  2020.

An international initiative has formed to ensure that gene drive technology gets a chance to prove its mettle in the quest to control malaria.

The GeneConvene Global Collaborative, which operates under the auspices of the Foundation for the National Institutes of Health (FNIH), will focus initially on advancing the safe, ethical and rigorous exploration of gene drive approaches in preventing malaria, which killed more than 400,000 people — most of them children under the age of 5 —  and sickened another 225 million in 2018 alone.

Various efforts are already under way to research and test the use of gene drives to limit the reproduction of mosquitoes, which transmit malaria and other diseases. Though the emerging technology is seen as a cost-effective and “green” alternative to insecticides, and also could be used to control  agricultural pests that cause crop losses and invasive species that disrupt native ecosystems, it has met with resistance from some environmentalists and ethicists. They worry about the impacts of greatly suppressing or eliminating entire species, even those that cause harm.


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Gene drives in our future: challenges of and opportunities for using a self-sustaining technology in pest and vector management

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