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The most promising or the most frightening experiment in the fight against malaria: should or shouldn’t we use genetically modified mosquitoes to combat malaria?
“Your scientists were so preoccupied with whether they could, they didn’t stop to think if they should.” (Jurassic Park)
The fight against malaria is a hard one and every person that dies of malaria is one too many. But how far should we go? How much should we put at risk to achieve elimination. What are the ethical, social, environmental and political issues at stake? And who is to decide?
From 13 - 29 November 2018 there is a UN’s convention on biological diversity (CBD) meeting in in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt. The Guardian reports that at this particular meeting “recommendations will be considered that call on governments to refrain from releasing organisms that contain gene drives, even in small-scale field trials”. If a UN biodiversity conference imposes a moratorium on this kind of work there could be serious consequences for research on genetically modified mosquitoes and their potential release in the ‘real world’.
But scientists are divided over whether or not ‘gene drive mosquitoes’ should play a role in malaria elimination.
On the one hand there are scientists that believe that the gene drive approach has the potential to significantly reduce the Anopheles gambiae population. Engineered gene drives will be used to modify the DNA of wild organisms on a large scale. The modified mosquitoes will then pass on the mutated gene that renders the females sterile. As a result the population crashes.
On the other hand there are scientist that argue that gene drives pose an unacceptable risk by spreading modified genes through the environment with unpredictable consequences.
And there are scientists, civilians and politicians who argue that it is unethical that ‘western or northern’ funded research groups want to release these genetically modified organisms on the African continent.
The question remains: Who is to decide? What do you think? We will post a poll on this tomorrow. We welcome your view.
- Ban on ‘gene drives’ is back on the UN’s agenda — worrying scientists
Nature, 15 November 2018
- Scientists divided over new research method to combat malaria
The Guardian 14 November 2018
- Release of risky GM mosquitoes in Burkina Faso highly unethical
GMWatch, 9 November 2018
- For the first time, researchers will release genetically engineered mosquitoes in Africa
STATnews, 5 September 2018
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Enjoy this week's MalariaWorld - the MW team
TEXAS BIOMEDICAL RESEARCH INSTITUTE - PUBLIC RELEASE: 17-OCT-2018
More than 150 people have died from Ebola virus disease in 2018
San Antonio, Texas (October 17, 2018) -- Ebola virus is a continuing threat in Central and West Africa, with an outbreak currently taking place in the Democratic Republic of Congo. The disease kills up to 90% of the people who get infected, and more than 150 people have died from Ebola so far this year. The factors that determine who is susceptible to Ebola infection and who is not are still a mystery.
Silas Majambere, Mosquito Consulting
This repository comprises a carefully selected set of more than 190,000 bibliographic records covering all aspects of research on malaria.
- Pilot trial shows suppository form of artesunate can slash severe malaria deaths
- Success down to drug formulation, better knowledge of disease also reported
- Large-scale rollout in well-functioning health systems could be ‘ground-breaking’
The French periodical PARIS MATCH published an extensive document on the fight against malaria with Artemisia annua and Artemisia afra. And the dubious role WHO plays.
Progress in malaria elimination across the Asia-Pacific is at critical cross-roads, threatened by the spread of multidrug resistant falciparum malaria and continued transmission among marginalized and mobile populations living and working in conditions beyond the reach of traditional malaria control interventions.
As you probably do, I eagerly check MalariaWorld almost every day, and when I have something to contribute, post a blog or comment. But I am disappointed by the lack of responses to my contributions, or to those from all of you. How can we improve this?
Since almost 10,000 people are connected thru MalariaWorld, we might make real progress if we can all contribute. I want to end malaria sooner, not later. Do you agree?
Amiodarone which is used to control irregular heartbeat also has a protective effect in malaria. It triggers eryptosis and the clearance of malaria infected erythrocytes. In Plasmodium berghei infected mice amiodarone injections increased the survival. It is interesting to note that amiodarone is also active against other tropical diseases like Chagas or Leishmaniasis, both in vitro and in vivo, probably by disrupting the parasites' Ca(2+) homeostasis,
It is valuable and refreshing to see contributions to strategies for malaria suppression in Africa from other disciplines, such as economics. Killeen and Reed pointed out that the portfolio effect cushions mosquito populations and malaria transmission against vector control interventions.(Killeen GF, Reed TE. Malar J. 2018 Aug 10;17(1):291. doi: 10.1186/s12936-018-2441-z.) Thus it must be considered when planning a strategy for Africa.
Vaccines blocking the invasion of malaria sporozoites failed so far, after 30 years of efforts, millions spent, and disastrous human clinical trials. The efforts and the millions are now focused on vaccines blocking transmission by gametocytes. The results are not yet encouraging but the updated Malaria Vaccine Technology Roadmap foresees that there will be a TBV vaccine available in 2030. The update was necessary as the program launched by WHO in 2000 ( TDR/RBM/MAL/VAC/2000.1) has not yet progressed very far.
Published: July 18th 2018
Print ISBN: 978-1-78923-550-0
In 2001 WHO posted a statement on their home page, without signatures, without references: « Due to the instability of artemisinin in raw materials of Artemisia annua L, the leaves need to be stored in cool conditions — preferably below 20°C. Most malaria endemic countries have warm climates and people generally lack access to refrigeration, so it is difficult for patients to keep artemisinin-containing tea bags under 20°C in their homes” A statement not substantiated by scientific papers. Cui bono?
Our associations immediately gathered available data which prove the contrary
“To end malaria there
is need for vision,
people to lead that
vision as seen when
the first person landed
on the moon.”
Don't miss out! Last chance to register!
Join us from 1-5th July 2018 in Melbourne, Australia for this unique multi-sector Congress.
San José / Geneva, 11 June 2018 – The World Health Organization (WHO) today certified Paraguay as having eliminated malaria, the first country in the Americas to be granted this status since Cuba in 1973.
Executive Director of the Global Fund, we're excited to welcome Peter to Melbourne to speak at the 1st Malaria World Congress.
The countdown is on. There's still time to register. Join us from 1-5th July 2018 in Melbourne, Australia and be part of the engaged voices as we aim towards a Roadmap for the Future.
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The Congress program has just been updated so visit the website today to see what we have to offer. Each of the four pillars are equally represented throughout the Congress, with sessions designed to provide the opportunity for discussion.
By integrating the many different facets that make up the response to the scourge of malaria in the one meeting, the 1st Malaria World Congress is utterly unique. Yes, MWC 2018 will feature the latest science, but it will be delivered within the context of the problems in implementing the best tools we have, the difficulties of financing them, and the cultural context of the many communities across the globe that are devastatingly impacted by malaria.