Why not use Sterile Insect Technique methods to eliminate malaria in Africa?

Category: Vector Borne Disease

Malaria in Africa is found from northern South Africa to the southern edge of the Sahara Desert, an enormous area. Malaria elimination from Africa has involved and will continue to involve the use of many tools. Gene drive technologies hold promise to provide a new and highly effective set of complementary tools that can contribute to malaria elimination.

The Sterile Insect Technique and related genetic biocontrol programs require continuously rearing and release large numbers of insects to sustain control of the pest. While it is quite possible that these programs could contribute to malaria elimination in urban areas, they are much less suited to deal with malaria control across the abundant, remote, and highly dispersed towns and rural villages across the continent. The potential for the effects of gene drive technologies to persist for longer periods, and, in some cases to spread within and through specific malaria-transmitting mosquito species, make them attractive tools for eliminating malaria transmission over the broad region affected.

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