The World Health Organization (WHO) officially declared China a malaria-free country. After registering zero indigenous malaria cases for over three consecutive years, China is now the 40th country or territory to receive the certification, following El Salvador in 2021, Argentina and Algeria in 2019, Paraguay and Uzbekistan in 2018, and Sri Lanka in 2016.
Malaria still kills over 400,000 people per year. In 2019 alone, there were 229 million new malaria infections and over 409,000 deaths – with children under five years accounting for 67% of these. Existing tools have saved 7.6 million lives and averted 1.5 billion cases since 2000 (WHO 2020). However, progress has plateaued in recent years. To eradicate malaria in one generation, novel tools are needed. Gene drive approaches are not a silver bullet but could complement current methods and enhance the effectiveness of ongoing malaria programmes.