WHO issues new guidance for research on genetically modified mosquitoes to fight malaria and other vector-borne diseases

WHO,  reliefweb,  2021.

New guidance from the World Health Organization (WHO) sets essential standards to inform future research and development on genetically modified mosquitoes, particularly in addressing issues relating to ethics, safety, affordability and effectiveness. Malaria and other vector-borne diseases, including dengue and Zika, affect millions globally. More than 400 000 people a year die from malaria alone. If proven safe, effective and affordable, genetically modified vector mosquitoes could be a valuable new tool to fight these diseases and eliminate their enormous health, social and economic burden. The guidance framework for testing genetically modified mosquitoes, developed in partnership with TDR, the Special Programme for Research and Training in Tropical Diseases, and the GeneConvene Global Collaborative, an initiative of the Foundation for the National Institutes of Health, describes best practices to ensure that the study and evaluation of genetically modified mosquitoes as public health tools is safe, ethical and rigorous. Current strategies for limiting transmission of mosquito-borne diseases are only partially effective. New, complementary approaches are needed to close the gaps in current vector control interventions, such as effective control of outdoor biting, and to provide alternatives to manage the increasing threat of insecticide resistance. Research suggests genetically modified mosquitoes could be a powerful and cost-effective tool to supplement existing interventions.

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