Mosquitoes might quite possibly be one of mankind's most deadliest threat. Out of 3.2 billion people globally vulnerable to malaria, 214 million cases were reported in 2015, resulting in around 438,000 deaths. India contributes a jaw-dropping 96 per cent of malaria cases and 98 per cent of malaria deaths in the world. Only recently, the Delhi government was pulled up over 19 deaths caused by chikungunya.
Last year, India flirted with the idea of introducing genetically modified mosquitoes to combat the large number of diseases the insects spread. A new video on the YouTube channel Kurzgesagt attempts to explain how these GMO mosquitoes, which are resistant to the malaria parasite because an anti-body gene is added to their genetic structure, could help us eradicate malaria.
"The mosquitoes would probably benefit from it. They don't have anything to gain by carrying parasites." This could also be extended to other disease-carrying organisms.
So why haven't we done this yet? "Once we do it, there is no going back, so we have to get it right, otherwise there will be unwanted consequences." The risks involved mean that any large scale application of the technology is at least five years away.
To those who are wondering whether it wouldn't be simpler to exterminate the entire mosquito population, here is a short "what if" video explainer on the subject.