Ethical, legal and social issues in the use of genetically modified vectors for disease control


  • Y.T. Touré
  • L. Manga


Genetic control of vectors may have an important role to play in the interruption of vector-borne disease transmission if the main biotechnological and implementation challenges are adequately addressed. Following the demonstration, in the laboratory, of the technical feasibility to develop transgenic mosquitoes unable to transmit malaria and dengue pathogens, the following actions will need to be taken in order to make this approach a control method applicable for public-health purposes: establish a proof of efficacy and safety to be approved by authorized biosafety and regulatory bodies before any experimental release; ensure the public and the media that this goal is desirable, feasible and can be accomplished safely; develop a plan to gather all the information necessary for legal and regulatory approvals; design a monitoring system for early detection and evaluation of adverse outcomes and plan strategies to remedy their effects; develop mechanisms for dissemination of information; enhance capacity in disease-endemic countries, promote research partnership and create an international consortium for genetic control of disease vectors to coordinate research activities and suggest future directions