Vector Control, Saving Lives

It's not just data

05 June 2014
Dave Malone

There's a lot of work goes into a good experimental hut trial, and you can't tell that just by looking at charts of data. Graphs and numbers never adequately express just how much work has gone in to generating the facts.

A single study, for example, will demand not only careful preparation of the site, but also the relentless commitment and skill of field technicians working consistently in hot, humid environments. Carefully collecting mosquitoes, recording and preserving them often for weeks or months on end is a testing occupation.

A key part of our mission is generating excellent and reliable data to demonstrate conclusively that the products under development by our industry partners work in the place where they will be used, like Africa. If you've ever been to sub-Saharan Africa you'll know that the conditions there are very different from 'at home' in Europe or the Americas.

The field trials we run have to be rigorously controlled if they are to produce data we can rely on. For this reason we follow WHO published guidelines to make the data relevant not just to our partners but to others also.

It's also why we've put an enormous effort over the past few years into supporting our trial site partners by training them in the principles of Good Laboratory Practice/Good Experimental Practice to the highest commercial standard. Ultimately the daily performance of the products being delivered depend on the accuracy of every data point that comes in from the field. And every bit of data takes us closer to a world where we can stop mosquitoes, and other insects, from killing people.

Currently we're working with four African institutions, who join our project teams to run new product evaluations. These are spread across sub-Saharan Africa in Tanzania, Benin, Cote d’Ivoire and Burkina Faso. It's here, in countries where malaria is still a big problem that IVCC projects come close to the reality of helping fight growing pyrethroid resistance, which is a real threat in the battle against malaria.

The people who we work with are leaders in their field, and do excellent work for us, and we're always open to expanding our collaborations in Africa and finding new sites at which to work. Having access to a range of different environment types helps have a better understanding of a product's performance. Products under development may take a long time to get to the field, but its only here when used in local conditions against local malaria vectors that they can be truly tested for performance. We want to make sure that when they finally get to where they're needed, they work well.

One of the things I value about IVCC is our commitment to delivering this mission we started—developing the essential new vector control products needed to stop malaria in Africa and other parts of the world. At the end of the day that's how we'll be judged.