Tata Group Will Eradicate Malaria By Replacing Mosquitoes’ DNA
Unit Tata Trust, the Tata Group’s social work institute, is going to launch an impressive initiative in the country to eliminate malaria. Under this, new gene editing technology will be used, which will change the DNA of mosquitoes in the country and prevent it from spreading the malaria disease. Tata Trust will invest $7 Million (about Rs 458 Crore) in the next five years to set up the Institute of Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine (Institute) in the Tata Institute of Genetics and Society in Bangalore in collaboration with the University of California in the US.
Tata Trust Chairman Ratan Tata, Innovation Head Manoj Kumar, and Managing Trustee R. Venkataramanan will be the trustees of this new institute. The institute in the US has already started to work on the project and in India, it will start by the end of this year or by next year. In this case, Manoj Kumar, the innovation head of Tata Trust, said, “There is a rise in mosquito-borne diseases in India. Earlier there were cases of malaria, but now there is an inclusion of dengue, chikungunya and zica virus. These diseases are deadly and it is more difficult to handle them.”
As per the World Malaria report, India’s share of malaria cases is 6% around the world. About 10.6 Lakh cases of malaria were reported in the country in 2016. The Health Ministry has set an objective to make the country malaria-free by 2030. In the early research of the University of California, it has been identified that a large number of Mosquito Anopheles Stephensi’s DNA can be changed in India by changing the genetics of the parasite named Plasmodium falciparum, which spread through mosquitoes.
Researchers at the Tata Institute of Genetics and Society are working on developing mosquito strain to prevent malaria. Vector replacement will be used instead of vector elimination. Vijay Raghavan, the Secretariat of Department of Biotechnology, said, “Tata Trust is participating in the Bangalore with the help of the Government of India’s Department of Biotechnology. It is very difficult to deal with malaria. For this, new ways of altering the mosquito’s genetics are being developed, which is presently in the early stages.”
Tata Trusts will soon start recruiting scientists to function on this project. It will appoint 40–50 scientists in the coming 2–3 Years. Kumar of Tata Trust said, “The biggest confront is to get the precise Human Resource Scientist. Genetic Scientist will be chosen in India and will be sent to the US for training.”