Introducing the African Gene Drive for Vector Control Network

Posted 8th July 2022 by Emma Orefuwa

The African Gene Drive for Vector Control Network is a PAMCA-led platform for networking, knowledge sharing, regional collaboration and cooperation. It was launched in 2021 to foster knowledge and build capacity for African-led malaria and other vector-borne disease research.

We, at the Pan-African Mosquito Control Association (PAMCA), aim to build a critical mass of African scientists, including vector biologists, social scientists and molecular biologists, as well as stakeholders from other communities, including public health professionals, academia, policymakers, NGOs, media and civil society to realise an Africa free of vector-borne disease.

Since 2017, PAMCA has led a 3-day training course to increase basic technical understanding of gene drive technology for African scientists and stakeholders, which also covers regulation, stakeholder engagement and ecology. The course has been supported by a grant given via the Open Philanthropy project to Target Malaria, and over these years 97 researchers have participated from 17 African countries.

Many of the courses’ participants have expressed a strong interest in further developing their skills and capacity in gene drive research. This community has since grown enabling us to develop the first dedicated Pan-African network for gene drive researchers.

The network, formally launched last year at September’s virtual PAMCA conference, is currently scaling up, building its network membership, mapping stakeholders, and planning communications and events, including webinars and short course training.

One of the network’s opportunities will be the organisation of learning and exchange visits at PAMCA’s Centre of Excellence at the Institut de Recherche en Sciences de la Santé (IRSS) in Burkina Faso.

Small groups of participants will take part in training visits, gaining competencies in key gene drive technology concepts with the action plan to disseminate that knowledge in the participants’ home countries and institutions.

We are keen to advance locally driven research for this technology that has the potential to reduce malaria across the African continent, and we hope that this network will generate more African voices leading gene drive policy debates, which is greatly needed.

Learn more about our vision for an Africa free of vector-borne disease and join our network.

Apply here for our upcoming 3-day training course on gene drive, set to take place 23-25 September 2022 in Kigali.