Gene drives to fight malaria: current state and future directions

Hammond, A. M. and R. Galizi,  Pathogens and Global Health,  111:412-423. 2017.

Self-propagating gene drive technologies have a number of desirable characteristics that warrant their development for the control of insect pest and vector populations, such as the malaria-transmitting mosquitoes. Theoretically easy to deploy and self-sustaining, these tools may be used to generate cost-effective interventions that benefit society without obvious bias related to wealth, age or education. Their species-specific design offers the potential to reduce environmental risks and aim to be compatible and complementary with other control strategies, potentially expediting the elimination and eradication of malaria. A number of strategies have been proposed for gene-drive based control of the malaria mosquito and recent demonstrations have shown proof-of-principle in the laboratory. Though several technical, ethical and regulatory challenges remain, none appear insurmountable if research continues in a step-wise and open manner.