Skip to content
New Online Course Launched on the Control of Vector Borne Diseases 9th September 2020

The London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine (LSHTM) and its ARCTEC team, IVCC and Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine (LSTM) are launching a brand new free online course on the control of vector borne diseases such as malaria, dengue and Zika virus, to help fight these diseases, which remain as prevalent and dangerous as ever during the current COVID-19 pandemic.

Vector borne diseases account for 17% of all infectious diseases. In recent months, the COVID-19 pandemic has led to the suspension of many national vector control programmes in disease-endemic countries, despite a plea from the World Health Organization (WHO) to government officials discouraging such action.

For example, a recent study has predicted 81,000 additional deaths in Nigeria due to the disruption to malaria control programs caused by COVID-19, further highlighting a critical need for education and training at a community level in coordinating effective vector control practices.

Progress on the control of all vector borne diseases is at great risk and now, more than ever, accurate information and education is needed to ensure vector control is not disrupted.

Now, the LSHTM and its ARCTEC team, in partnership with the IVCC and LSTM, has designed a massive open online course (MOOC) titled ‘The Global Challenge of Vector Borne Diseases and How to Control Them’.

This innovative and exciting six-week free online course will allow participants to explore the wide range of vectors and the diseases they transmit and learn about traditional and modern vector control. The course will cover state of the art vector control and importantly, participants will also learn about the suitability of vector control practices in the world today.

Using videos, presentations, articles and discussions, participants will hear from a wide range of world-leading experts from around the world, and across disciplines including epidemiology, entomology, vector biology, social science and health systems.

The course is specifically designed for anyone with an interest in vector borne diseases and public health. We particularly encourage those working in global and public health to enroll; including government stakeholders, health workers, those working on vector control programmes, vector researchers and industry employees.

 

“We are thrilled to launch this exciting new course on controlling vector borne diseases in partnership with IVCC and the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine. As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to disrupt national vector control programs, it is critically important that education and training in coordinating effective vector control practices happens at a community level and this free course will help to achieve this.”

Professor James Logan, LSHTM, lead educator for this course.

 

 “IVCC is delighted to have supported the development of this MOOC.  Vector control has proven to be a critical intervention in the fight against malaria.  This MOOC will help anyone with an interest in vector control learn not just the history of vector control but also the advances being made by organisations like IVCC to bring to market novel vector control interventions to address the growing threat of insecticide resistance.”

Nick Hamon, CEO, IVCC

 

“LSTM is delighted to have partnered with IVCC and LSHTM to put together this course. Online learning has proved itself to be extremely important during the current situation, especially for those that are unable to attend courses in person, so the MOOC opens the doors and gives access to those who wouldn’t normally have it. Vector control has been critical to the reduction of malaria cases in recent decades and increasing the capacity of vector control now, particularly given the backdrop of programmes being interrupted by COVID and the issue of insecticide resistance, has never been more vital.”

Dr Michael Coleman, LSTM

 

The MOOC, which will officially launch on Monday 21st September, is open for free enrollment on the FutureLearn site via this link.

 

LITE Has a New Website 21st August 2020

LITE (Liverpool Insect Testing Establishment) has launched a new website. LITE was established by Liverpool School of Tropical Medical (LSTM) and funded and supported by IVCC. LITE is a facility that tests new insecticides or repellent based products against a wide range of mosquito populations for commercial partners. Novel insecticides are being sought to help manage insecticide resistance and to counteract the spread of infection by insecticide resistant vectors. LITE maintains a range of insecticide susceptible and resistant colonies of mosquitoes and offers several testing methodologies for insecticide efficacy testing. MHRA accepted LITE, as a provisional member to the GLPMA programme from 23 March 2020, with testing performed to standard operating procedures and quality monitored standards by fully trained and qualified staff.

Visit the website to learn more.

World Mosquito Day 2020 20th August 2020

Today, the 20th of August 2020, is World Mosquito Day, an event that has been going since 1897 when Sir Ronald Ross declared this day soon after his discovery that female mosquitoes transmit malaria. The fact that mosquitoes transmit malaria is common knowledge nowadays, along with the discovery that many other diseases are spread by mosquitoes, including some familiar ones such as Dengue and Zika virus, and maybe some that are not so familiar such as Chikungunya, Yellow Fever, Eastern Equine Encephalitis, West Nile Virus and Rift Valley Fever.

 

 

You might expect that with the advancements of science and knowledge over the past century we would either have eliminated these diseases or at least be winning the fight. And there have been some remarkable achievements, deaths from malaria are now almost half of what they were 20 years ago. Unfortunately, the decline in malaria deaths has stalled over the past couple of years, Dengue has been rapidly increasing worldwide over the past 30 years and Yellow Fever, which has had an effective vaccine since the 1930’s, has been making a comeback. There are lots of reasons for the lack of progress but one of the main causes has been the development of insecticide resistance. Limited development of novel insecticides has meant existing mosquito control tools are becoming increasingly ineffective, leading to the resurgence and spread of many of the most dangerous mosquito vectors of disease, such as Anopheles gambiae and Aedes aegypti.

Now, in 2020, 123 years since the first World Mosquito Day, COVID-19 has upended our world and the knock-on effects for vector control could be disastrous. We are now at even greater risk with reduced travel and access to countries in need of support and resources. As you can imagine from our own experiences with COVID-19 the restriction of community-based mosquito control operations and an already stressed health system significantly increases the likelihood and impact of outbreaks of mosquito borne diseases. It is therefore essential to keep the emphasis on vector control otherwise an already bad situation could be made much worse. The World Health Organization (WHO) Global Technical Strategy for Malaria and the Global Vector Control Response have developed operational guidance for maintaining health services in the context of COVID-19 and has been urging countries to maintain their malaria services. There are currently over 700,000 deaths a year from mosquito borne diseases and we need to remain focused to avoid this increasing and adding another crisis on top of COVID-19.

Fortunately, there are several dedicated organisations working on ways to tackle mosquito borne diseases, including IVCC and its partners from industry and academia. Supported with funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, UNITAID, UKAid, USAID, The Global Fund, Australian Aid and, Swiss SDC, IVCC has been central to the development of novel insecticides to tackle insecticide resistance. In addition, IVCC has been helping to fund and develop innovative new tools, such as Attractive Targeted Sugar Baits (ATSB) and improved application equipment for residual spraying in and around households to add to and enhance the toolbox of control tools required to achieve the elimination of malaria and potentially other mosquito borne diseases. As part of the Australian government-supported Indo-Pacific Initiative (IPI), a package of bite prevention tools including spatial and topical repellents and insecticide treated clothing are being tested for malaria control.  Much of the IPI work involves enhancing “Routes to Market” including a Market Access Landscape for the Indo-Pacific, providing a foundation for improved household and community access to life-saving vector control products.

Looking to the future we need to maintain and enhance the development of innovative and improved vector control tools to work towards a world free of mosquito borne diseases, just imagine how we might celebrate that momentous day.  IVCC is focused on this mission and continually adapting its technical and strategic focus, as we all must, so that we may realise the full benefit of the knowledge gained over the past century.

 

 

 

IVCC in the Indo-Pacific: Delivering through Partnerships 17th August 2020

On Friday 21st August, APLMA will hold the second of its Malaria Gamechangers roundtable series. It focusses this time on vector control and is co-sponsored by IVCC and RBM Partnership to End Malaria. The roundtable aims to engage senior policy-makers across the Indo-Pacific in exploring some of the new and existing vector control products that will be vital to achieving malaria elimination in the region by 2030.

The panel will also focus on the regulatory hurdles, as outlined in IVCC’s Regulatory Landscape Report, that must be negotiated swiftly if these products are to have the desired impact. Vasanthan John Paul, the author of the report and IVCC’s regulatory consultant, will join the panel to speak on regulatory issues and opportunities for improved access to vector control solutions.

On the panel, there will also be a number of representatives from companies that IVCC has enjoyed successful partnerships with for many years, such as Bayer Cropscience and Sumitomo Chemical Company. There will also be speakers from organisations and countries with whom it is important we strengthen our relationships in order to maximise the impact of our work in the region. Our co-sponsoring of the roundtable is itself also a small example of where we have been forging new relationships and collaborations, as we seek to strengthen our network in support of the Indo-Pacific Initiative (IPI), funded by the Australian Government’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

IPI’s overall aim is to develop a vector control toolbox for the Indo-Pacific region. We are approaching this by focussing primarily on tools for malaria control in Papua New Guinea and Cambodia. In PNG, we are working with the PNG Institute of Medical Research, Burnet Institute and James Cook University, to develop the capacity in PNG for testing new tools, build a national vector control stakeholder network and test products in the community. The priority product categories for testing in PNG are Indoor Residual Spraying (including eaves and verandas), Spatial Repellents and Larvicides. In Cambodia and Thailand, we are working with a partnership led by University of California, San Francisco-Malaria Elimination Initiative, involving CNM, AFRIMS and Kasetsart University amongst others, to evaluate Forest Packs as a means of delivering effective bite prevention tools (Insecticide Treated Clothing, Spatial Repellent and Topical Repellent) to forest-going populations. To support these two main areas of work, we are also partnering with Imperial College London to model the potential impact of new new tools on malaria in the region.

IPI is guided by an Advisory Group of experts based in the region or with significant experience therein. The Advisory Group is based on the principle of delivering through robust partnerships, and draws from IVCC’s trademark model for external expert engagement and scrutiny: the External Scientific Advisory Committee (ESAC). IPI sits under Objective 7 of the IVCC strategy, which aims ‘to capitalise on knowledge and innovation to address malaria and other vector borne diseases outside sub-Saharan Africa in order to maximise the impact of our work and the products being developed’. Now more than ever, if we are to expand our activity into new geographies with little ‘on the ground’ presence, we are reliant on networking and forging strong partnerships. Add the myriad ramifications of Covid-19 into the mix- not least restricted travel- and it becomes even more important to have trusted collaborations through which to deliver.

As IPI ramps up, IVCC further explicates its strategic approach to the Indo-Pacific region and new opportunities arise elsewhere, we will need to continue to think realistically about what IVCC can deliver and what is best done by partners. We are fortunate in these considerations that IVCC has always recognised the importance of delivering through strong partnerships and that this is built into the way that we operate.

If IVCC is to achieve its vision of ‘saving lives, protecting health and increasing prosperity by preventing insect-borne disease’, and if success is to be seen more widely across the vector control community in the fight against insect-borne disease, it is clear that success will depend on the strength of working with the right people, at the right time and via the right kind of collaborations.

 

 

 

Ensuring Mosquito Net Distribution Could Halve Malaria 7th August 2020

Mosquito net distribution could help halve the number of deaths from Malaria during the coronavirus outbreak in Africa, researchers say.

There are concerns that malaria control activities – such as distributing insecticidal nets – could be severely disrupted as a result of the pandemic. Writing in Nature Medicine, Imperial’s COVID-19 Response Team estimate that malaria deaths could more than double in 2020 compared to 2019. But swift action could substantially reduce the burden of malaria and prevent joint malaria and COVID-19 epidemics simultaneously overwhelming vulnerable health systems. In the article the researchers estimate the impact of disruption of malaria prevention activities and other core health services under four different COVID-19 epidemic scenarios.

An estimated 228 million long-lasting insecticidal nets (LLINs) were due to be delivered across Sub-Saharan Africa this year, more than ever before. They estimate that if these mosquito nets are not deployed and preventative chemotherapy and case management is reduced by half for six months, there could be 779,000 malaria deaths in sub-Saharan Africa over 12 months.

If prevention activities were to stop during the outbreak, the team estimates that 200,000 deaths could still be prevented over six months if treatment of malaria is maintained. The researchers recommend that routine distributions of LLINs should be prioritised alongside maintaining access to antimalarial treatment and the use of chemoprevention to prevent substantial malaria epidemics.

 

 “It is vitally important to get malaria prevention measures out now to reduce the pressure on health systems as COVID-19 cases increase.”

Dr Thomas Churcher, Imperial’s School of Public Health

 

“In the face of COVID-19 it will still be important to ensure vector control interventions continue to be deployed as much as possible in order to not only sustain the gains already made in malaria elimination but ensure we do not have a resurgence in malaria.”

Okefu Oyale Okoko, Deputy Director/Head Integrated Vector Management Branch National Malaria Elimination Programme (NMEP) Public Health Department Federal Ministry of Health Abuja

 

“The efforts to maintain net campaigns across Sub-Saharan Africa are absolutely vital. We know how to prevent, track and treat malaria, but the strain Covid-19 puts on health systems risks hard fought for progress. This important modelling is a reminder that efforts to end malaria sit on a knife edge. Protecting people against Covid-19 cannot be pursued in isolation. Governments must see maintaining efforts against malaria as a core part of pandemic preparedness or risk a catastrophic domino effect.”

James Whiting, Executive Director, Malaria No More UK

 

Read the full article > 

 

 

For more information contact:

Stephen Johns
Imperial College London
s.johns@imperial.ac.uk

+44 (0) 20 7594 9531
+44 (0) 7792 657226

Sign up to receive the IVCC Newsletter