Health Desk – 20 May, 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 mosquitoe, 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.