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’s Ambassador Pack 12th August 2020
IVCC has developed its new ‘Ambassador Pack’ which is now available digitally or in hard copy version. The Pack contains 14 loose leaf pages which cover the broad spectrum of IVCC’s work, including Product Development, Key Highlights and Market Access workstreams. The pack also contains an updated version of the IVCC strategy which was completed earlier this year.
View the online version of the Ambassador Pack here.Accelerating Innovations 14th April 2020
Breakthroughs in disease control have arisen through leaps in understanding and completely new methods of control. For example, the discovery by Sir Ronald Ross in 1897 that malaria is transmitted by mosquitoes and the subsequent use of insecticides to control them. Incremental improvements in tackling mosquitoes have involved many smaller innovations, for example the introduction of control flow valves for compression sprayers which enable walls to be sprayed more accurately and consistently with insecticide to maximise the impact on mosquitoes that transmit malaria.
IVCC keeps watch for new ideas in vector control and receives many innovative proposals for development and testing of new products. There is a need to choose those most likely to have a strong impact on disease transmission, short time to deployment, low cost of development, high probability of success and good fit with IVCC’s priorities for vector control. Once these innovations have been selected, IVCC’s role is to test, guide and accelerate them towards adoption and to help maximise the benefits from their use.
An example of this is IVCC’s contribution to the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) ‘Grand Challenge for Zika and Future Threats’, which ran from 2017 – 2019. In this case, USAID issued a call for proposals and selected 26 innovations from over 900 submissions. IVCC helped manage 9 of these projects relating to vector control, vector surveillance and Zika virus transmission prevention. IVCC’s role was to support the projects to develop and test their technologies to tackle the principal vector of Zika virus, the mosquito Aedes aegypti. An IVCC Programme Manager, who worked closely with the projects and with USAID’s ‘Center for Accelerating Innovation and Impact’, set up a Zika External Scientific Advisory Committee (ESAC) with experts drawn from existing IVCC ESACs and supplemented by experts on Aedes aegypti. Meetings of the Zika ESAC were held at approximately 6 monthly intervals, for project updates and ESAC guidance. In addition to this, specialists were appointed to help the projects understand, evaluate and resolve their specific technical, regulatory, production and commercialisation challenges.
The diagram below shows the 12 areas in which IVCC added value to the Zika Grand Challenge projects.
IVCC’s work on Target Product Profiles (TPPs) formed the core of the guidance to the projects to help them to develop products that would combat Zika virus and future threats most effectively and to demonstrate that their innovations would be successful. These profiles define the performance criteria that eventually need to be met and hence gave the research teams a clear vision of what to aim towards.
IVCC also monitored the progress and prospects of each of the projects, regularly evaluating their Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats (SWOT), risks and issues. This helped with determining needs for further funding to address additional aspects of the TPPs and opportunities for development and cross-over of relevant technologies into malaria vector control.
Several projects were successful in achieving their milestones including a spatial repellent product from Sumitomo and a novel automated mosquito trap.
The spatial repellent is impregnated in a small device which can be hung from the ceiling to protect people inside the room from being bitten by mosquitoes. In a project led by QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute and involving Emory University and the Autonomous University of Yucatan, two seasons of trials on the mosquito Aedes aegypti in Mexico’s Yucatan peninsula demonstrated very good results, suggesting that the product could protect the population from viruses transmitted by this vector (dengue, Zika virus, yellow fever etc.). A significant and important results was that the spatial repellent was effective even in the presence of insecticide resistant mosquitoes. Further work is now funded to investigate cost effectiveness and optimum deployment.
Johns Hopkins University developed a mosquito monitoring trap that incorporates a novel system for recognition, identification and counting of the mosquitoes it catches, as well as automatic transmission of this information via a wireless network. Tests demonstrated a very high level of accuracy in identification, enabling more rapid and accurate monitoring and reduction in labour costs associated with visiting conventional traps and manually identifying their catches.
Innovation is vital to succeeding in the fight against vector-borne diseases and in collaboration with its funders and partners, IVCC is accelerating vector control innovations to save lives.IVCC Stakeholder Day at The Lowry, Manchester, June 2016 28th June 2016