Gene Drives: Assessing the benefits & risks

Creighton, J.,  Future of Life,  2019.

Most people seem to understand that malaria is a pressing problem, one that continues to menace a number of areas around the world. However, most would likely be shocked to learn the true scale of the tragedy. To illustrate this point, in 2017, more than 200 million people were diagnosed with malaria. By the year’s close, nearly half a million people had died of the disease. And these are the statistics for just one year. Over the course of the 20th century, researchers estimate that malaria claimed somewhere between 150 million and 300 million lives. With even the lowest figure, the death toll is still more than World War I, World War II, the Vietnam War, and the Korean War combined.

Although its pace has slowed in recent years, according to the World Health Organization, malaria remains one of the leading causes of death in children under five. However, there is new hope, and it comes in the form of CRISPR gene drives.