GeneConvene Work and Impact

Work and Impact

The GeneConvene Global Collaborative, an initiative of the Foundation for the National Institutes of Health (FNIH), builds on more than 10 years of work by the FNIH on genetic biocontrol approaches for public health. GeneConvene offers technical information, advice, training and coordination for research on gene drive and other genetic biocontrol technologies to support responsible development and informed decision-making.

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Identifying and Addressing Key Questions

  • Anticipate key questions that will need to be addressed
  • Respond proactively, working with international experts to identify answers and solutions

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Providing Technical Advice

  • Scope scientific, regulatory and policy landscapes
  • Support independent risk assessment
  • Advise stakeholders on relevant issues and available resources

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Strengthening Capacity and Sharing Information

  • Provide technical training and information to scientists, regulators, policymakers and other stakeholders and publics
  • Facilitate communication within and among stakeholder groups

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Identifying & Addressing Key Questions

Identifying & Addressing Key Questions
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For more than 10 years, the FNIH has engaged with experts in identifying and addressing key questions for genetic biocontrol approaches for public health. Contributions of particular note include:

  • Developed the 2014 Guidance Framework for Testing of Genetically Modified Mosquitoes with the World Health Organization. This was the first global guidance describing the development pathway for genetically modified mosquitoes as public health tools.
  • Co-commissioned the U.S. National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine to produce the 2016 report Gene Drives on the Horizon: Advancing Science, Navigating Uncertainty, and Aligning Research with Public Values. The report was a seminal analysis of considerations for responsible research on potential applications of gene drive technologies.
  • Gene Drive TeamAuthored and facilitated development of the 2018 Pathway to Deployment of Gene Drive Mosquitoes as a Potential Biocontrol Tool for Elimination of Malaria in Sub-Saharan Africa: Recommendations of a Scientific Working Group. This document presented the first detailed analysis of the end-to-end development path for gene drive approaches for preventing malaria transmission.
  • Coordinating development of consensus guidance for containment of genetically modified and gene drive modified insects. GeneConvene is working with individuals and professional organizations active in entomology research to update established arthropod containment guidance to encompass new genetic technologies.
  • Establishing parameters for preferred product characteristics of gene drive modified mosquitoes. GeneConvene published preliminary recommendations for safety and efficacy criteria in 2020 and continues to seek additional perspectives on stakeholder expectations for the function of gene drive modified mosquitoes as public health tools for prevention of malaria transmission.
  • Advancing thinking on the design of efficacy field trials for gene drive modified mosquitoes. The potential for spread of driving genetic elements into the local mosquito population presents new issues for design of field trial protocols. GeneConvene is bringing together scientists with relevant experience in testing of other types of mosquito and malaria control tools to consider innovative trial design options for safe and ethical conduct of field trials.
  • Informing approaches for monitoring and surveillance of field releases of gene drive modified mosquitoes. GeneConvene is consulting experts in field biology, medical entomology, ecology and detection of invasive species to consider methods and resources to monitor for the persistence and spatial spread of gene drive modified mosquitoes in field testing and implementation.

Read more to learn about other recommendations and guidance facilitated by the FNIH. 

conference room Providing Technical Advice

The GeneConvene Global Collaborative utilizes its experience with the scientific, regulatory and policy systems of genetic biocontrol and public health to landscape important topics, such as the legislation and policies governing genetic biocontrol. GeneConvene will continue to support independent external risk assessment of certain gene drive technologies for prevention of malaria transmission in Africa, and to make these assessments publicly available.

Read more to learn how GeneConvene provides technical advice.




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