Gene drives as a response to infection and resistance

Hayirli, TCM, P.F.,  Infection and Drug Resistance,  12:229-234. 2019.

Vector-borne infectious diseases continue to be a major threat to public health. Although some prevention and treatment modalities exist for these diseases, resistance to such modalities, exacerbated by global climate change, remains a fundamental challenge. Developments in genomic engineering technologies present a new front in battling vector-borne illnesses; however, there is a lack of consensus over the scope and consequences of these approaches. In this article, we use malaria as a case study to address the developments and controversies surrounding gene drives, a novel genomic engineering technology. We draw attention to the themes of infection control, resistance, and reversibility using a science and technology studies framework. Unlike other current prevention and treatment modalities, gene drives have the capacity to alter not only single organisms but also entire species and ecologies. Therefore, broader public and scientific engagement is needed to inform a more inclusive discussion between clinicians, researchers, policy makers, and society.