Mobilizing Mutant Mosquitoes to Fight Malaria

D. Mclaughlin and J. Recht,  United Nations Foundation,  2021.

World Mosquito Day today marks the 1897 discovery by Sir Ronald Ross that female Anopheles mosquitoes spread malaria. Since that breakthrough, the world has fought this deadly disease through scientific research and new technology. While astounding progress has been made against the ancient disease, more than 400,000 people died from malaria in 2019, two-thirds of them children under 5, the vast majority in Africa.Existing malaria controls such as spraying insecticides indoors or sleeping beneath long-lasting insecticidal bed nets work by blocking mosquitoes from biting people and transmitting malaria. Such tools have helped halve malaria in many countries throughout sub-Saharan Africa. Yet this remarkable progress is in jeopardy as mosquitoes develop resistance to these insecticides. As the dangerous mosquito continues to adapt, health interventions must continue evolving to protect families from this disease and move us closer to a malaria-free world. Now, there is a promising new tool, seemingly ripped from the pages of a science fiction novel, to stop malaria’s spread: genetically modified mosquitoes.

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