CRISPR-based suppression drives for vector control

Published on February 28, 2021   46 min

Other Talks in the Series: Gene-Drives and Active Genetics

Other Talks in the Series: Periodic Reports: Advances in Clinical Interventions and Research Platforms

I'm Andrea Crisanti, I'm a professor of molecular parasitology at Imperial College, London. Today, I will talk about the work that we have carried out in the lab during the last 10 years in an effort to develop a CRISPR-based suppression drive for vector control against malaria. I'll take the opportunity to thank all the team in my lab, the students, the technicians, the postdocs, and the research fellows. Without their enthusiasm, dedication and knowledge, the field of gene drive would be completely different today.
The next slide shows you why we are interested in developing a vector control measure against malaria. This disease is still one of the most important diseases in the world, in terms of morbidity and mortality. Half of the world's population is at risk from malaria, about 200 million people are infected every year, most of them in Africa. About half a million people die as a consequence of malaria infection. The people that die are either children or pregnant women, these are the most vulnerable members of the population in the poorest countries of the world.
Malaria is transmitted in Africa by a few mosquito species belonging to the Anopheles genus, which are 𝘈𝘯𝘰𝘱𝘩𝘦𝘭𝘦𝘴 𝘨𝘢𝘮𝘣𝘪𝘢𝘦, 𝘈𝘯𝘰𝘱𝘩𝘦𝘭𝘦𝘴 𝘤𝘰𝘭𝘶𝘻𝘻𝘪𝘪, 𝘈𝘯𝘰𝘱𝘩𝘦𝘭𝘦𝘴 𝘢𝘳𝘢𝘣𝘪𝘦𝘯𝘴𝘪𝘴 and 𝘈𝘯𝘰𝘱𝘩𝘦𝘭𝘦𝘴 𝘧𝘶𝘯𝘦𝘴𝘵𝘶𝘴. It's also important to remember that only the females transmit malaria. Although there are 5,000 mosquito species in the world, 800 of which are in Africa, only a few mosquito species transmit malaria.
The next slide shows what the available tools are to control malaria. These are anti-malaria drugs, indoor residual spraying, mosquito habitat removal, bed nets, fumigation, and (with a question mark) vaccines. Although researchers have been working on the development of a vaccine, the available ones do not have the expected protection rates.

CRISPR-based suppression drives for vector control

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