Genetically modified mosquito may be answer to malaria
US researchers recently announced that they were able to tweak mosquito genes so that they don’t carry malaria anymore. The hope here is that by releasing this insect in the wild, the gene will be introduced to the next progenies whenever they mate with other mosquitos.
Anthony James, a professor for molecular biology and biochemistry at the California-Irvine University said that this has opened up a real promise of this technique being adapted for getting rid of malaria altogether.
The scientists have obviously said that they are going to continue experimenting with the modified mosquitos as well as the wild mosquitos in order to determine if the method is going to proliferate efficacy and safety as far as combatting this disease is concerned.
James has reminded people though that the mosquitos they created weren’t the final brand, but they did know that the technology allowed them to create large populations efficiently.
Apart from this, Kevin Esvelt, a biologist at the Wyss Institute of Biologically inspired Engineering said that this was a huge advancement since it showed that gene drive interventions can be effective as far as mosquito disease vectors are concerned.
Even though he had not been involved at all with this study, this gene driver researchers says that it does represent a major first step.
Also, researchers have also said that the malicious or accidental release of gene drive systems in the wild may have an unpredictable ecological consequence and that is why researchers need to make use of multiple safeguards which are robust as far as nefarious actions or human error is concerned.
Lastly, the US CDC says that somewhere between 300 million – 500 million cases of malaria are being reported every single year and almost a million people are dying because of this disease each year as well.
The results of this study had been published in the Proceedings journal of the National Academy of Sciences this week.