Gene drive revolution: How genetically tweaked mosquitoes could tip the balance in the battle to contain malaria

F. Okumu,  Genetic Literacy Project,  2021.

In 2016, a World Health Organisation (WHO) panel concluded that even with the best use of current approaches, there would still be 11 million malaria cases in 2050. What’s needed are longer-term integrated strategies to complement current methods. These may include large-scale environmental management to reduce Anopheles breeding, mosquito-proof homes, stronger health systems and public education focusing on disease prevention. Fortunately, new technologies are also being developed which could complement these strategies at lower cost and less effort. One particularly exciting example is the release of genetically programmed mosquitoes, which we call “protector mosquitoes”. Upon mating with wild mosquitoes they produce offspring that are either incapable of any further reproduction or unable to transmit malaria parasites.

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