Gene drives and other ‘out-of-the-box approaches’ can eradicate malaria by 2050, scientists say

mosquito net for bed
Image: Compassion UK

“For too long, malaria eradication has been a distant dream, but now we have evidence that malaria can and should be eradicated by 2050,” said Richard Feachem, co-chair of the Lancet Commission on malaria eradication, which just published the results of a major new study funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

The study offers a roadmap for beating malaria, a disease that’s transmitted to humans through the bites of infected mosquitoes, and that can cause problems ranging from fever and chills to severe respiratory problems or death. It recommends focusing on three areas: what it calls the “software” of eradication (think soft skills, like management training), the “hardware” of eradication (think molecular technology for diagnostics), and the financial investment needed to make it all happen.

Related article:  Gene driving to combat insect-borne diseases: Powerful tool requiring science diplomacy

At a time in history when we’re armed with solid science and sufficient resources to deploy it, letting malaria continue to be a death sentence is arguably ethically indefensible.

The study also urges us to explore out-of-the-box approaches like gene drives, which would entail changing the DNA of a few mosquitos and then releasing them so they spread the modification throughout an entire population.

Read full, original post: Good news: We can totally beat malaria by 2050

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