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How Close Are We to Eradicating Malaria? 25th April 2015

The scientific community is divided on whether or not we have a chance to achieve malaria eradication. Some argue that the task is too enormous. That lack of products, lack of access, lack of political drive or lack of funds will stop the downward trend of malaria. Some even predict a darker future with a potential resurgence of the disease.

On the other hand some, like Bill Gates, believe that it can be achieved within 15 years with the right resources allocated to the task.

In the end nobody is absolutely right or wrong. Nevertheless there are a few things that are certain:

The IVCC team is on the side of those who believe eradication can be achieved. We also have an acute understanding that it will not be a ‘walk in the park’. All our efforts are directed toward releasing new vector control products and ensuring access to them. This is important, because vector control is already identified as one of the most cost effective solutions to controlling malaria by preventing transmission. The downside is the rapid spread of resistance against most of the insecticides currently in use.

That’s why IVCC is working hard with a wide and diverse group of partners to find new solutions, either by re-purposing insecticides already available in other markets, or by engineering brand new insecticides dedicated to public health.

We are not complacent, but we do have solid reasons to be proud:

So, do I believe we can achieve eradication? I do, but only if all the stakeholders in the battle against malaria work together to make it happen. No-one can do it alone. But together we can turn the vision of eradication into a reality.

Accelerating Development of New Insecticides 3rd February 2015

Sitting snugly in the shadow of Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania sits the Kilimanjaro Christian Medical University College. Based at the college is PAMVERC, where a team of scientists works collaboratively across a number of organisations, such as London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and IVCC, to test new innovations in vector control, mostly malaria-focussed.

Even though we know how to prevent malaria, it still kills over 600,000 people each year. The vast majority of these are children under the age of five, and pregnant women.  Insecticide treated bed nets and indoor residual spraying of insecticides have and will continue to save thousands of lives every year; however, as with any monotherapy (only one class of chemistry is available for use in bed nets), resistance is starting to seriously take its toll.  We are seeing resistance to pyrethroid insecticides and other classes of chemistry almost everywhere we look for it, and in some locations in Africa complete failure has been observed. This is not a new story but it is an increasingly frightening one. Insecticide resistance is now reaching the tipping point. (Watch the IVCC video here for more information)

The good news, however, is that even when insecticides fail, the physical barrier of a net continues to provide some level of protection from malaria transmission, so continued net use is important.  IVCC’s mission and focus since its inception in 2005 has been to work across multiple stakeholders, especially industry, to catalyse innovation in vector control and bring new classes of insecticides to market.  New products are starting to become available or are in the product development pipeline at a well-advanced stage. Watch this space!

However, our focus is beginning to shift from managing innovation to managing time from discovery to impact.  I recently asked two different highly respected scientists in the field of malaria and neglected tropical disease research what a complete failure of pyrethroids in bed nets would represent in terms of lives lost and the estimates were staggering—somewhere between 70,000 and 150,000 per year.  Any number of preventable deaths is completely unacceptable, but these types of numbers defy belief and really raise the level of urgency and responsibility.  Today, from discovery to impact for a new insecticide takes about 12 years.  We have a number of new chemistries just entering the development phase, which means that, if we take a normal course to market we will not see an impact until 2024/2025.

What if all the different players in the value chain agreed to do something creative and disruptive so that we can make new life-saving public health insecticides available by 2020—just five years?  This is feasible, and could save many thousands of lives.

We know how to accelerate the development of experimental products when lives are at stake—the Ebola crisis has demonstrated this.  So, we in the malaria community need to take full responsibility and apply the same principles and urgency to solving the malaria problem.

Novel drugs and vaccines are in the research pipeline, but vector control is and will continue to be the foundation of malaria management for the foreseeable future. Can we rise to the challenge of maintaining or improving on the performance of long-lasting insecticide treated nets and indoor residual sprays and getting them into the hands of those that desperately need them in five years or less?

Syngenta Announces Malaria Insecticide Entering Early Development Phase 22nd April 2015

IVCC joined Syngenta Crop Protection AG today in a joint media release announcing that Syngenta are progressing a novel insecticide ‘active ingredient,’ into early development.

The breakthrough is a result of four years of intensive research by Syngenta supported by IVCC and our funding partners, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the UK Agency for International Development (UKAID), the US Agency for International Development (USAID) and the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC)

IVCC CEO Nick Hamon emphasised in the media release that this is a significant breakthrough in the battle against malaria that shouldn’t be underestimated. ‘Together with other solutions in the IVCC pipeline, this new insecticide has the potential to substantially reduce the risk of future insecticide resistance and lay a foundation for the eventual eradication of malaria,’ he said.

The announcement by Syngenta heralds the first of several new active ingredients that IVCC partners will enter into full development this year.

It is a timely announcement for World Malaria Day, which takes place on 25th April this year, with its emphasis on sustaining commitment to building on the successes achieved since the turn of the millenium in reducing malaria. In advance of World Malaria Day United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon said that malaria control was one of his priorities; ‘Malaria control has proven to be one of the smartest investments in health we can make,’ he said. ‘When we target our funds in proven malaria control interventions, we create healthier communities and more robust economies’. Read the Secretary-General’s full comments here

Dr Fatoumata Nafo-Traoré, Executive Director of the Roll Back Malaria Partnership also emphasised the importance of tackling insecticide resistance.’We have come half the distance with half the funds,’ she said.’To beat growing threats like insecticide and drug resistance, we must re-commit ourselves and raise our ambitions’.


Syngenta is one of the world’s leading companies with more than 28,000 employees in over 90 countries dedicated to its purpose: Bringing plant potential to life. For more information about Syngenta please go to


New Anti-Malarial Insecticides for Bednets 13th January 2015

Reports in Time magazine today (Jan 13, 2015) about Insecticide Resistance in Mali shouldn’t really come under the heading of news. We’ve known about insecticide resistance in mosquitoes for a long time. In fact, that’s one of the reasons IVCC was set up in 2005—to develop new and effective vector control tools to challenge insecticide resistance.

But what is more serious is the comment in the article that resistance has ‘reached a level at some localities in Africa where it is resulting in the failure of the nets to provide meaningful control’. This is not only inaccurate, it is positively harmful.  Even if insecticides on bednets shows limited efficacy in some cases, the physical barrier of the bednet still provides a meaningful level of protection—over 50% according to WHO.  The article also fails to point out that the impact of growing insecticide resistance is not yet fully understood, nor is it distributed evenly across sub-Saharan Africa.

Long-lasting Insecticidal Treated bednets (LLINs), and Indoor Residual Spraying (IRS) have been remarkably successful over the past 15 years in reducing deaths and sickness from malaria across sub-Saharan Africa. In the World Malaria report 2015, the WHO reports that malaria mortality rates have decreased by 54% in the region during this period and that 44% of the population at risk is now sleeping under a LLIN. They estimate that 670 million fewer case and 4.3 million fewer malaria deaths occurred between 2001 and 2013 than would have occurred if incidence and mortality rates had remained unchanged.

Undoubtedly, some of this is due to better drug therapies and more effective diagnostics and health systems and that is also good news. But a large portion of it is also down to effective protection of the people at risk, especially the most vulnerable groups of pregnant women and young children. There is substantial evidence that LLINs and IRS have been remarkably efficient. The massive distribution of bednets has been a major lifesaver.

Ironically, the success of bednets and IRS one of the reasons why resistance has been developing. It’s a natural response from an insect population under stress. (See our video ‘The Tipping Point’) And it’s why we’re developing new anti-malarial insecticides that are safe for people and the environment that could bring to an end this never ceasing circle of solution-resistance-solution. (See our video ‘Why 3 new Ais’)

Working with the world’s leading agro-chemical companies, and top scientific experts in entomology and chemistry, we have already isolated 9 new chemical classes of anti-malarial insecticide with completely new (and different from each other)  modes of action. This year we will select 3 of these to go into full development. If funding is adequate and the extensive regulatory processes are passed, these new insecticides will be in operation in the field by 2022.

In the meantime we have developed new formulations of existing insecticides for IRS, and have some novel approaches to bednets that are currently undergoing evaluation.

Time reports scientists are urging ‘the development of new and effective malaria vector control strategies’. Right, we’re on the case and the finishing line is in sight.

Bayer CropScience & IVCC Offer New Malaria Tool 30th October 2013

The World Health Organization Pesticide Evaluation Scheme (WHOPES) has issued a recommendation for a new polymer-enhanced, long-lasting Indoor Residual Spray for malaria vector control. This deltamethrin based spray was jointly developed by Bayer CropScience and IVCC (the Innovative Vector Control Consortium). It represents a viable cost-effective alternative to DDT for malaria control programs. Market introduction across Sub-Saharan Africa and other malaria endemic areas is expected to occur during 2014 once relevant national regulatory approvals are in place.

Since 2007, Bayer CropScience has been working with its partners in IVCC to develop longer lasting indoor residual spray formulations and new active ingredients to manage insect resistance in malaria vector control. The new polymer-enhanced formulation of deltamethrin offers a residual effectiveness of six months. The World Health Organization (WHO) has recognized this unique formulation as having a longer residual lifespan than any other pyrethroid insecticide formulation.

“The success of the international community’s goal of eradicating malaria globally depends ultimately on new ideas and innovation,” said Dr. David Nicholson, Head of Research & Development at Bayer CropScience. “Our long-lasting indoor-residual spray is an effective malaria intervention. As a global innovation and market leader in vector control, we will continue to work closely with IVCC to foster the introduction of new vector control tools for public health.”

“We are delighted to have met this important research milestone in our collaboration with Bayer CropScience”, said Nick Hamon, CEO of IVCC. “This collaborative achievement illustrates the progress which has been made on the original objectives to deliver effective and affordable vector control interventions. I look forward to further successful outcomes from the IVCC partnership with Bayer CropScience.”

There are many countries in Sub-Saharan Africa where the transmission period for malaria can be longer than six months. In these situations, when indoor residual spraying is regarded as an appropriate intervention, a product with longer-lasting efficacy can be very important, reducing the frequency of spraying required and saving considerable costs for malaria control programs.

All insecticide sprays for malaria control are required to be evaluated and recommended by the WHO for effectiveness and safety. Until now the only product formally recognized to have residual effectiveness exceeding six months has been DDT. However, as a Persistent Organic Pollutant (POP), the production and use of DDT is strictly restricted.

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