Djibouti Releases GMO Mosquitoes to Fight Malaria

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The Facts

  • Thousands of genetically modified (GMO) mosquitoes have been released in Djibouti to curb the spread of Anopheles Stephensi — an invasive mosquito species that transmits malaria.

  • The non-biting male mosquitoes carry a gene that kills the female mosquito offspring before they reach maturity, preventing them from biting and transmitting diseases.

The Spin

Narrative A

Genetically modified mosquitoes could harm the ecosystem, transmit unknown diseases, and prompt a dangerous mutation in the malaria parasite, which will find a new way to spread and survive. While the technology may reduce mosquito-borne illnesses like malaria, the associated, unanticipated risk makes the whole process a huge gamble.

Narrative B

The release of GMO mosquitoes could be a game changer in the fight against malaria in African countries that need a permanent way to fight the disease — one that doesn't require continuous investment. Amid an evolving parasite resistant to main treatments, the technology offers an inexpensive, safe, and egalitarian solution to enhancing public health.

Metaculus Prediction

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