Skip to content

Can Engineered Mosquitoes Quell Malaria Outbreak? Djibouti Takes Daring Step

Djibouti has launched an initiative using genetically modified mosquitoes to combat a severe malaria outbreak caused by the invasive Anopheles Stephensi, an Asian mosquito species that only recently arrived in the country. This species, thriving in urban areas and resistant to conventional tools, including insecticides and daytime-biters, has led to malaria cases soaring from 27 in 2012 to over 70,000 recently. The initiative, led by Oxitec, a biotechnology firm, releases genetically engineered male mosquitoes to mate with females, causing female offspring to die before adulthood, thereby reducing the mosquito population. This method, funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, has shown success in reducing mosquito-borne diseases like dengue in Brazil by up to 95% and is seen as a potential game-changer in Djibouti’s fight against malaria.