Combating malaria by modifying mosquitoes could save thousands of lives. It’s also risky.

Hank Greely

(This article was first published in The Washington Post on February 5, 2019.)

In 2018, about 440,000 people worldwide, mainly children younger than 5, died of malaria — nearly one every minute. Another 210 million people survived but suffered from one or two weeks of high fever, shaking chills and other symptoms. The toll in human suffering is immense but relatively hidden from American eyes because the vast majority of cases occur in sub-Saharan Africa.

But biotech holds out the potential of progress — possibly soon. People don’t give people malaria: The 460 species of mosquitoes in the genus Anopheles do, and researchers are taking aim at them. (Continue reading this article on The Washington Post’s page here.)

Henry T. Greely (BA ’74) specializes in the ethical, legal, and social implications of new biomedical technologies, particularly those related to neuroscience, genetics, or stem cell research. He frequently serves as an advisor on California, national, and international policy issues.