UC Davis — Malaria Gene Drive Feasibility Analysis (Greg Lanzaro)

Organization Name 
Award Date 
2/2020
Grant Amount 
$1,500,000
Purpose 
To support a preliminary feasibility analysis of a potential test of gene drives for malaria control on the adjoining islands of São Tomé and Príncipe.
Topic (focus area) 

Grant investigator: Chris Somerville and Heather Youngs.

This page was reviewed but not written by the grant investigators. UC Davis staff also reviewed this page prior to publication.

Open Philanthropy recommended a grant of $1,500,000 over 18 months to UC Davis to support a preliminary feasibility analysis of a potential test of gene drives for malaria control on the adjoining islands of São Tomé and Príncipe. The work, led by Dr. Greg Lanzaro and colleagues, will focus on a potential gene drive application that would reduce or inhibit the ability of mosquitoes to transmit the malarial parasite, without impacting the mosquito population on the islands.

As part of the feasibility analysis, Dr. Lanzaro’s team will establish working relationships with local communities with the goal of providing information and answering questions about potential future research and defining a pathway to community approval of a potential future release. Other preliminary work potentially supported by these funds includes the establishment of an ethics advisory board, the development of a communication plan, and any appropriate safety tests. At the conclusion of this stage, we will consider whether to provide additional funding for ecological studies that would be conducted prior to any release. Deployment would only take place if determined to be feasible, ethical, safe, approved by the regulatory authorities, and supported by the affected communities. Related scientific research is being supported by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

This falls within our focus area of scientific research, specifically within our interest in advancing human health and wellbeing.