Fredros Okumu: Why I study the most dangerous animal on earth -- mosquitoes
Fredros Okumu - Mosquito scientist
Fredros Okumu studies human-mosquito interactions, hoping to better understand how to keep people from getting malaria. Full bio
to welcome all of you once again.
a victim of this bug here?
of all the mosquito catchers.
mosquito bites every day.
I moved to the Kilombero River valley
one of the most malarious zones
locally known as degedege.
adults and children,
Ifakara Health Institute,
for the local communities.
refers to a place you go to die,
of what life used to be here
organized public health care.
was going on across the villages
were transmitting the disease.
of Ifakara town across the river.
with flashlights and siphons.
that were coming to bite us
selected a household,
swapping positions every half hour.
for 24 consecutive nights.
and chopping off their heads
carrying malaria parasites
how much malaria was going on here
were carrying this malaria.
inside houses or outside houses.
I still catch mosquitoes for a living.
people's lives and well-being.
the most dangerous animal on earth --
know about mosquitoes?
our best practice against malaria
insecticide treated bednets.
that are put on these bednets.
protect you from bites
the mosquitoes that they should.
to be able to get to zero.
on the biology of the mosquito,
so we can identify new opportunities.
with things such as bednets
with you a few examples
my colleagues and myself do.
or far from your house.
to control mosquito larvae,
quite difficult to get them.
and I have decided to do
we used mosquitoes themselves
from a place of our choice
they lay there shall not survive.
who runs this show at Ifakara.
that you can actually get mosquitoes
where they normally come to get blood
of sterilants or insecticide,
to their own breeding habitat
that you can do this
for malaria research.
colonies of malaria mosquitoes
and test them immediately,
or control them in some way.
two or three positions
pick up these lethal substances,
in just three months.
in what we call swarms.
usually after sunset.
of their choice,
male in their view.
and fall down onto the floor.
work gets really interesting.
swamp hunting in the villages,
tend to be at exactly the same location
the same time of the evening,
the same locations.
all these locations across villages,
by just a single blow.
or nuke them out.
with young men and women
how to identify the swarms,
we have a new window
eat blood, human blood,
the most dangerous animal on earth.
sometimes as 100 meters away.
between two family members.
based on what you produce
sweat and body odor.
your body, your sweat or your breath
we created a concoction,
a blend of synthetic substances
of what you produce from your body.
more mosquitoes than a human being.
of mosquitoes and you kill them, right?
use it for surveillance.
on the biology of the mosquito;
including, of course, the malaria,
that mosquitoes transmit
for example --
like to bite you on the leg region.
these mosquito repellent sandals
when they're coming.
with mosquitoes continues.
a long way, I can see.
to eliminate malaria from 35 countries.
from the continent.
behind these goals.
a cohort of young scientists,
to make this vision come true.
that these dreams come true.
free of malaria transmitting mosquitoes
using CRISPR to kill off mosquitoes?
let's start from what the problem is.
about a disease that still kills --
we have from WHO --
in malaria burden.
to get to zero.
such as CRISPR,
either they do not transmit malaria --
that even if you were to release
genetically modified mosquitoes,
elimination very, very quickly.
offer us some real opportunities --
to have high-impact interventions
in addition to what we have now
to ask this as well --
I would just like to remind my colleagues
mosquito species in this world.
have any capacity to transmit malaria.
three or four of these as the major guys.
of all the malaria we have.
with gene editing like CRISPR,
with gene drives to control malaria,
to eliminate these mosquitoes effectively
in America have sprayed with --
these insects out of the villages.
of household spraying.
solely at killing the mosquitoes.
if we had a new tool.
very, very responsible here.
and we have to partner with our regulators
that we do is done correctly,
independent risk assessments,
do not fall into the wrong hands.
About the speaker:Fredros Okumu - Mosquito scientist
Fredros Okumu studies human-mosquito interactions, hoping to better understand how to keep people from getting malaria.
Why you should listen
Fredros Okumu is director of science at the Ifakara Health Institute (IHI). Since 2008, Okumu has been studying human-mosquito interactions and developing new techniques to complement existing malaria interventions and accelerate efforts towards elimination. His other interests include quantitative ecology of residual malaria vectors, mathematical simulations to predict effectiveness of interventions, improved housing for marginalized communities and prevention of child malnutrition.
Okumu was awarded the Young Investigator Award by the American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene in 2009, a Welcome Trust Intermediate Research Fellowship in Public Health and Tropical Medicine (2014-2019) and, most recently, a Howard Hughes-Gates International Research Scholarship (2018-2023). He is co-chair of the Malaria Eradication Research Agenda consultative group on tools for elimination and a co-chair of the WHO Vector Control Working Group on new tools for malaria vector control. Okumu was named one of the "Top 100 Global Thinkers" by Foreign Policy in 2016.
Fredros Okumu | Speaker | TED.com