Vector Control, Saving Lives

Barriers to innovation

It has been widely agreed for some time by most stakeholders working in Malaria control and eradication that there is an urgent need for innovative vector control tools. The rapid onset on insecticide resistance to the Pyrethroids and all other classes of insecticide used in malaria control is of growing concern. This problem is likely to get much worse.

Innovative vector control tools are therefore urgently needed, but there are technical, financial and programmatic barriers that continue to hinder innovation.

In October 2011, a gathering of stakeholders including individuals from IVCC, WHO, donor institutions, industry, and other partners issued a joint call for a mapping of the process to introduce new vector control tools for public health and the need to identify the challenges faced today in this process. This was followed in March 2012, as part of a broader consultation of more than 70 individual stakeholders from about 40 institutions, by a workshop  on the subject of fostering innovation in vector control. This workshop was a critical interim step to gather a small group of the main constituencies involved in vector control innovation, with the view to discussing the initial findings and collecting feedback on the process of mapping innovation.

The workshop was a constructive dialogue on how partners throughout the community can collaborate to accelerate the pace at which new vector control tools can be developed and ultimately introduced in endemic countries.

Eight major areas for improvement in the vector control innovation process were identified:

• Establishing a predictable and viable market
• Protecting investments while allowing competition
• Recognizing innovation
• Facilitating breakthrough innovation
• Reducing costs and improving efficiencies for time-to-market
• Ensuring high quality products
• Developing products that respond to the needs of end-users
• Building strong collaboration between stakeholder groups

This process, and activities since then have clearly shown that all stakeholders are working towards the objectives of developing innovative, safe and effective vector control tools and introducing them as quickly as practicable in endemic countries to lower disease burden and save lives.

Collaboration between stakeholders is vital to overcoming the obstacles: no single stakeholder group has the power to overcome these challenges on their own. The objective of cutting the time from proof of concept to the introduction of a new product in endemic countries by 30%, while maintaining the highest standards in terms of safety, efficacy and acceptability is a continuing priority for IVCC and its stakeholder