Anopheles stephensi is a malaria-transmitting mosquito native to Asia, but it is now more widely spread across Asia to the Middle East and has now invaded the Horn of Africa. Unlike most malaria vectors, it is adept at colonizing urban environments, so presents a significant risk to many people across countries like India, where more than 1.2 billion people live at risk of malaria. The arrival of this vector in Africa raises the threat of increased malaria in cities that it invades. In one recent publication describing this new threat in Africa, two leading mosquito experts stated that “Urgent action is needed to prevent urban malaria epidemics from emerging and causing a public health disaster.”
We are developing a 2nd Generation Friendly™ Anopheles stephensi, powered by the same Friendly™ technology that has been proven against Aedes aegypti. Friendly™ mosquitoes carry a self-limiting gene that prevents female offspring from surviving, allowing for male-only production. After releases of Friendly™ males into the field, which find and mate with wild female mosquitoes, reduction of the target population is achieved as the female offspring of these encounters cannot survive. Male offspring survive, carrying a copy of the self-limiting gene; in turn, these males are able to pass on the self-limiting gene to half of their offspring, of which female carriers of the gene cannot survive. The self-limiting gene can thereby persist but declines over time, offering potentially multiple but still self-limiting generations of suppression for every Oxitec Friendly™ mosquito male released.
Development of this Friendly™ Anopheles stephensi is at an early stage, but in the future is anticipated to be an important solution to manage this malaria-transmitting mosquito.
Read more about how our solution works here.