RNA interference to combat the Asian tiger mosquito in Europe: a pathway from design of an innovative vector control tool to its application

Ruth Müller, M Balint, K Hardes, H Hollert, S Klimpel, E Knorr, J Kochmann, KZ Lee, M Mehring, SU Pauls, G Smets, A Steinbrink, A Vilcinskas

Research output: Contribution to journalReviewpeer-review


The Asian tiger mosquito Aedes albopictus is currently spreading across Europe, facilitated by climate change and global transportation. It is a vector of arboviruses causing human diseases such as chikungunya, dengue hemorrhagic fever and Zika fever. For the majority of these diseases, no vaccines or therapeutics are available. Options for the control of Ae. albopictus are limited by European regulations introduced to protect biodiversity by restricting or phasing out the use of pesticides, genetically modified organisms (GMOs) or products of genome editing. Alternative solutions are thus urgently needed to avoid a future scenario in which Europe faces a choice between prioritizing human health or biodiversity when it comes to Aedes-vectored pathogens. To ensure regulatory compliance and public acceptance, these solutions should preferably not be based on chemicals or GMOs and must be cost-efficient and specific. The present review aims to synthesize available evidence on RNAi-based mosquito vector control and its potential for application in the European Union. The recent literature has identified some potential target sites in Ae. albopictus and formulations for delivery. However, we found little information concerning non-target effects on the environment or human health, on social aspects, regulatory frameworks, or on management perspectives. We propose optimal designs for RNAi-based vector control tools against Ae. albopictus (target product profiles), discuss their efficacy and reflect on potential risks to environmental health and the importance of societal aspects. The roadmap from design to application will provide readers with a comprehensive perspective on the application of emerging RNAi-based vector control tools for the suppression of Ae. albopictus populations with special focus on Europe.
Original languageEnglish
Article number108167
JournalBiotechnology Advances
Number of pages13
Publication statusPublished - 2023


  • Aedes albopictus
  • Arboviruses
  • Dengue virus
  • Environmental health
  • Invasive mosquitoes
  • RNA interference
  • RNAi-based control
  • Target product profiles
  • Vector insects
  • Zika virus


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