Upstream Public Health Management: Weaponized Mosquitoes

Upstream Public Health Management: Weaponized Mosquitoes

Nigeria spends billions of naira fighting malaria daily. Our fight, unfortunately, is at the downstream level with no impact on the upstream level where we can achieve more. Drug companies sell their drugs to citizens brought down by malaria. It is a vicious circle because no efforts are made to eradicate the mosquitoes which cause the malaria. For decades, malaria has been a common ailment across communities. We lack the capabilities to deal with malaria in a way that will make it history.

Companies must develop and accumulate capabilities in order to compete in the market place. In this video, I explain how any firm can do that and why accumulating capability is very strategic. From Google to Dangote Group, when companies accumulate capabilities, they see themselves operating in the segments of markets with higher value (usually upstream) compared with where their competitors operate (usually downstream).

Contrast with news that U.S. wants to take out any mosquito in its land. The US has released an army of “mosquitoes” which has been weaponized to deal with the bad mosquitoes that cause malaria. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), a regulator, is allowing MosquitoMate, a company, to release its lab-grown, bacteria-carrying male mosquitoes (who don’t bite) to infect females and reduce populations of mosquitoes across America. The goal is to make sure mosquitoes do not bring pains to people.

The US Environmental Protection Agency has given its approval for MosquitoMate, a Kentucky-based biotechnology company, to release its bacteria-infected male mosquitoes in several parts of the United States.

The EPA approval was first reported by Nature on Monday (Nov. 6), and confirmed by the company. The EPA said it registered MosquitoMate’s mosquito as a new biopesticide on Nov. 3, with a five-year license to sell in 20 different states. (Here are the EPA’s risk assessments and public comments.)

If you are looking for business idea in Nigeria and you have elite skills in biotech, this is an open opportunity. But it may not be easy as biotech can turn out to be evil if your agents begin to ravage communities due to a mistake in your compounds (think of bio-weapons). For U.S. to have approved this, they must have conclusively ascertained that these weaponized mosquitoes are safe. I will not want them in my village, but I cannot pass the fact that America attacks problems from the upstream level: kill the mosquitoes and malaria will be history. That seems like a better idea when compared to making drugs for malaria!


NB: I’m not sure if malaria, specifically, is included in this U.S. govt project . But the theme remains. The company does mention malaria but it is not clear if the U.S. government included it in the approval.


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2 thoughts on “Upstream Public Health Management: Weaponized Mosquitoes

  1. To eradicate malaria in Nigeria (Africa), it has to be an internal research initiative.
    Pharmaceutical companies make huge profits from malaria drugs. They would rather produce more expensive or sophisticated drug for malaria than “waste” it on eradicating the “real” source of business profit.
    This is where a sincere government comes in. A government that has the WILL to eradicate mosquitoes/malaria would have to invest in research. The irony is the we have big time Nigerian scientists that can engage in these research…….but again nobody cares as long as the rich can afford malaria drugs.

    1. You have hinted a big point Sir “They would rather produce more expensive or sophisticated drug for malaria than “waste” it on eradicating the “real” source of business profit.”. Why eliminate the source of the business? That has been going on in Africa for decades. The way America looks at this problem is something I expect our continent to emulate. I agree with you that we need research to take out mosquitoes so that we can take out malaria instead of fighting malaria when mosquitoes breed unfettered.


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