Bill Gates has pledged to save the world from malaria, and now he is using science to try to tackle the global problem once and for all.
On June 22, it was revealed that Gates is contributing $4 million to an initiative that will result in mosquitoes killing each other during sex. The funds will be directed from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation immediately.
This is part of Gates’ larger plan, in which he pledged to “eradicate malaria within a generation.”
Over 1 million people die from malaria every year. Most of it occurs in Sub-Saharan Africa and most of the victims are children. Up to 600 million people can suffer from malaria each year. The disease only spread through Anopheles mosquitoes.
Under the plan, genetically modified male mosquitoes will be released into the wild with a self-limiting gene. They will have sex with female mosquitoes, who are the only ones that bite and transmit malaria to humans. Since only the males will be genetically modified, this will be safe for humans.
During sex, the female mosquitoes will receive the self-limiting gene. This results in having their offspring die before reaching adulthood, which is when they start biting humans. That means that mosquitoes who are capable of spreading malaria will die.