2018: Bill Gates's investments
At the end of June, 2018 it became known of Bill Gates's investments into the research project within which genetically modified mosquitoes capable to eradicate malaria are created. The founder of Microsoft invested about $4 million.
An initiator of the project is the British company Oxitec which already developed mosquitoes mutants for fight against a Zika virus and Dengue fever. Thanks to efforts of the company the quantity of the insects capable to have a Zika virus was reduced by 90%.
The new idea of developers consists in cultivation of special mosquitoes males which will destroy relatives using pairing.
It is known that people are bitten by female individuals of mosquitoes as males have no pricking bristles without which it is impossible to pierce skin. If females eat blood, then males — pollen and nectar of flowers.
Oxitec wants to bring only males whose gene after pairing will destroy females. In the course of reproduction the gene which is not allowing the given rise mosquitoes to live up to the adult period when they begin to suck blood will be transferred to future generations. Thanks to it researchers want to eliminate spread of serious diseases which are carried by insects. First of all, it concerns malaria from which more than 1 million people in the world perish every year.
According to plans of scientists, the mutated mosquitoes for fight against malaria will be ready to testing by 2020. In June they showed the 2018th how the gene drive together with a bacterial system under the name CRISPR CAS are capable to cause fast distribution of the genes steady against malaria, in laboratory population of mosquitoes of the sort Anopheles (one of the main carriers of malaria in Asia).
Oxitec and Bill Gates pursue a noble purpose, but also this project had critics. For example, organization members of Friends of the Earth say that creation of the modified insects will have an adverse effect on natural balance. Besides, they can be dangerous to people.