Scientists Engineer Mosquitoes That Can’t Transmit Malaria

C. Murez,  US News,  2022.

The fight against malaria could hinge on genetically engineered mosquitoes that have something called “gene drive.”Researchers from the Transmission: Zero team at Imperial College London report that they have engineered mosquitoes that slow the growth in their gut of the parasites that cause malaria. This delay would mean the mosquito would reach its natural life span before the parasite would reach the mosquitoes’ salivary glands. So a bite wouldn’t spread the disease. In the lab, this dramatically reduced the spread of malaria. “Since 2015, the progress in tackling malaria has stalled. Mosquitoes and the parasites they carry are becoming resistant to available interventions such as insecticides and treatments, and funding has plateaued. We need to develop innovative new tools,” study co-author Tibebu Habtewold said in a college news release. He’s a researcher from the college’s Department of Life Sciences. Last year, malaria infected 241 million people, killing 627,000 of them, mostly children younger than age 5 in sub-Saharan Africa.

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