Gates Foundation backs malaria-blocking mosquito

Anopheles mosquitoes are carriers for the malaria parasite. (CDC Photo / James Gathany)

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is extending its partnership with Oxitec, a British mosquito control company, to develop mosquitoes that are genetically engineered to suppress malaria.

Oxitec’s latest project follows up on its work with Aedes aegypti, the mosquito species that can spread a range of diseases including yellow fever, dengue fever, chikungunya and Zika fever — but not malaria. A different type of mosquito, Anopheles, is the carrier for malaria parasites.

Previously, the Gates Foundation supported Oxitec’s development of male Aedes mosquitoes that have been genetically engineered so that their female offspring don’t survive to adulthood.

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By Alan Boyle

Mastermind of Cosmic Log, contributing editor at GeekWire, author of "The Case for Pluto: How a Little Planet Made a Big Difference," president of the Council for the Advancement of Science Writing. Check out "About Alan Boyle" for more fun facts.

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