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Gates Foundation Partners with Oxitec to Combat Malaria with Genetically Modified Mosquitoes

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The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has partnered with Oxitec – a British biotechnology firm – to develop a strain of “self-limiting” mosquito that targets specific malaria-carrying strains.

Self-limiting mosquitoes are genetically modified to only allow male offspring to survive to adulthood, when they will mate and pass along the self-limiting gene once more. Of course, this is effective since only female mosquitoes bite humans and other animals to get blood meals for their eggs.

The project, funded with $4.1 million from the Gates Foundation, will create a self-limiting version of the Anopheles albimanus strain of mosquito for potential use in the Americas, eastern Africa, and South Asia.

Oxitec previously developed a self-limiting strain of Aedes aegypti mosquitoes as part of the fight against the spread of the Zika virus, Dengue Fever, and West Nile Virus. These mosquitoes have been previously released in Brazil, where they proved to be a highly effective control tactic.

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