2015 is a significant year in the global battle against malaria. Three new public health insecticides will go into full development after 10 years of research and development. These are the first new antimalarial insecticides in over 30 years and they will make a major difference to the lives of millions of people.
According to data gathered by the World Health Organization (WHO), malaria kills over 600,000 people a year, most of them children under 5 years old. It makes over 200 million people sick annually. Over 3.4 billion people are at risk worldwide. It is no surprise that most of the poorest countries on the planet are those where malaria is endemic. Not only does it affect individuals and their families, it also debilitates communities and holds back economic development.
The good news is that malaria is totally preventable and treatable. Over the past 15 years the deaths and sicknesses have been substantially reduced, mainly through the massive distribution of insecticide treated bednets across malaria endemic countries. The WHO estimates that about 3.3 million lives have been saved and hundreds of millions of malaria episodes averted. New drugs and diagnostics have made treatment more effective, but the best way to stop malaria is still prevention.
The introduction of new insecticides is coming just in time. Then mosquitoes that transmit malaria have been developing resistance to all the insecticides that have traditionally held them back. This is getting worse and is reaching a critical point where it will begin to turn back the substantial gains that have been made. The new insecticides will advance the gains made in controlling malaria, and managed properly in the field, they will also effectively deal with the problem of future insecticide resistance and lay a foundation for the eventual eradication of malaria. For a non-technical explanation of why this works check out the short videos at www.ivcc.com.
Without the new insecticides the WHO estimates that at the current bednet coverage, resistance to insecticides will lead to additional deaths of about 125,000 per year.
IVCC was set up in 2005 as a non-profit product development partnership to work with the private and public sectors to find a solution to the problem of insecticide resistance. Bringing together leading independent scientists and agrochemical companies has enabled the development of novel public health insecticides that will pass the highest toxicological, environmental and human safety tests.
This is critical to the international community’s attack on malaria in particular, but it is also relevant to other diseases transmitted by insects, like lymphatic filiariasis and dengue, also transmitted by mosquitoes.
The development of new public health insecticides is the cornerstone of IVCC’s mission—it is the only organisation worldwide working exclusively in developing new insecticidal tools to combat insect-borne disease, including malaria. It receives financial support from Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF), the UK government through DfID (Ukaid) , the Swiss government (through Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation), and the US government (through USAID).
Although IVCC has been well supported by its funding partners over the past ten years, the final development phase is particularly expensive. There is a shortfall in projected funding of about
$100 million dollars and IVCC is looking for additional financial partners who can join in the final phase of the battle against malaria. Companies that are working in sub-Saharan Africa, with a vested interest in healthy workers and vibrant healthy economies, are being targeted to help take the new insecticides over the finish line.
The work IVCC has done with its industrial and academic partners since 2005 has already produced tangible and sustainable benefits with new longer lasting insecticide formulations already in the field saving lives. The novel public health insecticides that are moving into the final development stage will be an essential tool in the future in the battle to eradicate malaria.
IVCC is a not-for-profit public-private partnership that was established as a charity in 2005. Our mission is to save lives, protect health and increase prosperity in areas where disease transmitted by insects is endemic. We bring together the best minds to create new solutions to prevent disease transmission. By focusing resources and targeting practical scientific solutions we accelerate the process from innovation to impact. More information at: www.ivcc.com