Gene-drive technologies are a promising new tool to reduce the density of the female Anopheles populations responsible for the transmission of malaria. The Target Malaria Consortium aims to develop gene-drive based technologies that reduce mosquito populations through a number of different strategies including biasing the sex ratio of mosquito populations and through reducing female fertility. We work as part of this consortium to using modelling to understand the potential impact of different target product profiles on malaria transmission in the trial settings and more widely, as well as to explore the potential interactions between these new technologies and existing control efforts.
Our modelling methodology combines entomological and epidemiological components in order to simulate the spatial dynamics of gene drive spread in the targeted vector species and how this impacts malaria transmission and prevalence. We are developing models tailored to different transmission settings throughout Africa, considering local vector ecology and species composition, malaria transmission intensity and the historical coverage of vector control and human treatment interventions. Regional and continental scale models will investigate the role of long-range spatial connectivity and human population mobility.