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, with more than 400,000 people a year dying from malaria alone.
The WHO state that, if proven safe, effective and affordable, genetically modified vector mosquitoes could be a valuable new tool to fight these diseases and help alleviate their considerable health, social and economic burden. The current strategies available for limiting the transmission of mosquito-borne diseases are only partially effective. New and 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.
Source: WHO, 19 May 2021