Target Malaria is developing its innovative genetic technologies in a step-wise approach. Each of our three main phases also include numerous stages. Our research is still at an early stage, and even though results so far have been promising, we still have a long way ahead of us. We hope that our final technologies will be sustainable and cost-effective to implement, as the mosquitoes themselves will help to control malaria transmission.
Target Malaria’s work is structured around three key pillars: science, stakeholder engagement and regulation. In each of these areas, we seek to achieve excellence, creating a path for responsible research and development of genetic technologies. In order to succeed, our research requires the participation of many people, as no single institution has the knowledge or research environment necessary to succeed alone. The sustainability of our research and the effectiveness of our tools depend on sharing knowledge and in investing in partnerships across disciplines and among institutions.
We are also committed to engaging a wide variety of stakeholders. As our research progresses, we have engaged an increasing number of stakeholders from the potential beneficiaries in local communities where we conduct our research activities to national, regional and global stakeholders. Our strategy is to focus on the communities that might benefit from the technology and that are more concerned by the research activities, but also to have an ongoing, transparent dialogue with other stakeholders.
We see engagement as a two-way dialogue and as a reinforcement of our commitment to co-development. Target Malaria believes that engaging stakeholders can help improve our working processes and the technologies we aim to develop. This dialogue is based on sharing knowledge and perspectives between the project and stakeholders, to ensure that we build a common understanding of the activities proposed. This process also allows us to understand communities’ views, address their concerns, and feedback those perspectives to integrate them in the project development. We can learn a lot from our stakeholders and they have a right to understand what we do and to decide whether to support us. We believe engagement will make our research better and help ensure what we develop is welcomed and useful.
Our project’s ability to move through each evaluation phase is subject to national regulatory and ethical approvals. We are committed to abide by international guidelines and to work in collaboration with regulatory authorities in all countries where we work.
Safety is of paramount importance to the project and we are working to ensure that as many concerns as possible can be addressed in the steps along our development pathway. We test our mosquitoes extensively in the laboratory. We then apply to the national regulatory authority for a permit to import a genetically modified strain to work under containment in one of our African partner institution’s laboratory or to seek permission to do a small scale release.
Regulatory dossiers for key phases in the research are submitted by our collaborating partners based in malaria-endemic countries. Just as we depend on the support and approval of communities and stakeholders, we are required to comply with international and national legislation and respect existing and emerging guidance regulating the use of our technologies. We only wish to operate within jurisdictions where we have the full confidence and approval of their national regulatory authorities.