The development and implementation of novel technologies always presents challenges to the scientists investigating them, the regulatory agencies responsible for ensuring product safety and efficacy, and the public that has to weigh the costs and benefits of adopting them.
Unlike pharmaceuticals, insecticides and vaccines, for which clearly established pathways exist for movement of products from the laboratory to practical use, no such pipelines exist yet for genetically-engineered mosquitoes for controlling diseases.
Efforts to develop pathways started with the scientists themselves as they sought the highest standards of ethics and safety. As the science developed, agencies such as the World Health Organization (WHO) and the National Academies of Sciences Engineering and Medicine (NASEM) evaluated the technologies and made a number of recommendations that encourage basic studies on the technologies to proceed while advising caution for any open releases. The University of California, Irvine, Malaria Initiative acknowledges and endorse these recommendations and guidelines, and we conduct our research accordingly.
Aspects of our research require NIH– and other agency-mandated reviews and approvals from the UCI Institutional Biosafety Committee (IBC), Institutional Animals Care and Use Committee (IACUC), Institutional Review Board (IRB) and Environmental Health and Safety (EHS) office prior to commencing the research. Our facilities also have been inspected by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and United Sates Department of Agriculture (USDA). We have permits from the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) to work on mosquitoes.
We are committed to open communication about our work so as to inform both the public and scientific communities of our progress and intent. We welcome the opportunity to answer questions and receive comments about our work.
Relevant Links and Guidelines:
- Gene Drives on the Horizon: Advancing Science, Navigating Uncertainty,
and Aligning Research with Public Values / National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine
- Safeguarding gene drive experiments in the laboratory / Science
- Arthropod Containment Guidelines / Vector-Borne and Zoonotic Diseases
- Principles for Gene Drive Research: Sponsors and Supporters of Gene Drive Research Respond to a National Academies Report / Science
- Guidance for Contained Field Trials of Vector Mosquitoes Engineered to Contain a Gene Drive System: Recommendations of a Scientific Working Group / Vector-Borne and Zoonotic Diseases
- Guidance framework for testing of genetically modified mosquitoes / World Health Organization
- American Society of Tropical Medicine and Health
- UC Irvine Institutional Biosafety Committee