Vector Control, Saving Lives

O million-murdering Death. I know this little thing, a myriad men will save: Sir Ronald Ross

20 August 2015
Jed Stone

Liverpool is a great place to celebrate World Mosquito Day in 2015. Sir Ronald Ross, the brilliant doctor who discovered in 1897 that female mosquitoes transmit malaria, was Professor and Chair of Tropical Medicine at the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine for 10 years.

Ross made the groundbreaking discovery while working in India for the Indian Medical Service. Dissecting a blood-fed Anopheles mosquito he found a malaria parasite in its gut, and went on to confirm the growth of the parasite in the mosquito.

He knew this was a discovery of monumental importance to the health and well-being of millions. Humbled and inspired he sent this poem to his wife a couple of days later: 

This day relenting God
Hath placed within my hand
A wondrous thing; and God
Be praised. At His command,
Seeking His secret deeds
With tears and toiling breath,
I find thy cunning seeds,
O million-murdering Death.
I know this little thing
A myriad men will save.
O Death, where is thy sting?
Thy victory, O Grave?

The discovery was published in the December 1897 edition of the British Medical Journal, and Ross was honoured with the Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine in 1902 for his work on malaria. He was the first British Nobel laureate.

Ross’s discovery revolutionised the approach to malaria control and laid the foundation for saving millions of lives and driving malaria from countries where it had been endemic. It is an approach that still works today—preventing the mosquito from transmitting malaria through the use of insecticide treated bednets and indoor residual spraying has proved to be highly effective. The WHO estimates that 70% of the nearly 7 million lives saved since 2001 can be attributed to these highly effective vector control tools.

So it is with great delight that IVCC today announces a further step forward in the science of vector control.

For the past 5 years  Sumitomo Chemical and IVCC have been working to develop a new insecticidal active ingredient with a novel mode of action for use in the fight against the mosquitoes that transmit malaria and other debilitating and often fatal diseases.

Extensive laboratory based studies demonstrating the safety and efficacy of this chemistry against insecticide resistant mosquitoes have now been completed, and today we confirm that these studies have moved to the next phase of development.  This includes evaluating the performance of a range of prototype products in both laboratory and semi-field based settings.

Read the full press release here.

And read the fascinating and inspiring story of Ronald Ross here.




Jed Stone

Jed is responsible for how IVCC communicates with and is perceived by the world, as well as advocacy for vector control.