Talking Techniques | CRISPR: developing an equitable technology amidst a global pandemic

In this episode, I speak to Geoffrey Siwo about CRISPR and the challenges facing its development into a technique that can be applied equitably across the globe. Geoffrey talks about the importance of seizing the opportunity to influence the progress of the embryonic gene-editing technology for the better, before the data bias in genomic data and the disparity in researchers working on the technique leads to ingrained differences in the success of the application in different populations. The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on this development is also exposed.

We also discuss Geoffrey’s work, using CRISPR in antiviral research as a way of identifying small molecules capable of inducing broad-spectrum antiviral responses, with the potential to combat SARS-CoV-2.

Tune in to discover what has changed in the landscape of CRISPR research since the infamous incident of the CRISPR-edited babies. Find out how Geoffrey believes we can develop CRISPR to be a truly equitable technology and to hear just how hopeful he is for the future of the technique.


  • Introduction: 00:00-04:00
  • Disparities in CRISPR research: 04:00-06:50
  • The Impact of COVID-19 on disparity: 06:50-08:00
  • Designing CRISPR techniques that work for all: 08:00-12:05
  • CRISPR as an antiviral research tool: 12:05-15:10
  • The impact of the CRISPR-edited babies on policy and regulation: 15:10-17:50
  • How to improve equity and diversity in CRISPR research: 17:50-21:15
  • Hope for the future and conclusions: 21:15-24:32