Delphine Thizy portrait

Open Letter: “Research on gene drive technology can benefit conservation and public health”

Delegations from all over the world are converging to Egypt for the opening this week of the Conference of the Parties of the Convention on Biological Diversity and related protocols.

This is a crucial time for research on innovative vector control against malaria using gene drive approaches. Decision-makers have the opportunity to reaffirm the importance of enabling research to support responsible innovation and evidence-based decision-making.

The calendar is offering us an interesting coincidence. Over the coming two weeks delegations will be discussing in Egypt about processes for evaluation of gene drive mechanisms with a potential moratorium suggested. During the same period, the malaria community will be looking at the data from the annual WHO malaria report. We know from the last years that infection numbers started to increase again and that high burden countries are struggling to maintain the rate of declines in deaths that we had gotten used to in the past decade.

As these two events take place, more than 100 researchers from all over the world have come together to address a strong message to the delegates meeting in Egypt, to urge them to enable further discussion about responsible research without preventing essential steps for the evaluation of the potential uses of gene drive such as field releases.

Target Malaria will send delegation of researchers and experts to ensure that evidence-based information is available for the decision-makers present at the Convention on Biological Diversity.

To read the Open letter on gene drive research please click here.