UK scientists develop modified mosquitoes in fight against malaria

  • Video report by ITV News Science Correspondent Alok Jha

Mosquitoes remain one of human's deadliest enemies, with an estimated 3.2 billion people - more than half the world's population - at some risk of contracting deadly malaria from mosquitoes.

But now scientists at a lab in London are developing modified mosquitoes that, when released into the wild, could wipe out an entire local population of malaria parasite spreading mosquitoes in a few years.

Scientists at Imperial College London, funded by the Gates Foundation, are using a technique known as gene editing to alter the DNA of mosquitoes.

When these lab bred insects mate with wild mosquitoes they produce sterile offspring, which could kill off a population within one generation.

The lab bred insects could wipe out a local population of malaria carrying mosquitoes. Credit: ITV News

"In our view it's transformative", said Dr Tony Nolan from Imperial College.

"You only need a relatively low level of mosquitoes to have a drastic impact.

"It's a long lasting solution that's effective and cheap."