4/27/2015 8:00:00 AM

A view into the future insecticide landscape for malaria vector control

Insecticide resistance in mosquitoes has been highlighted as one of, if not the, key challenge in the current fight against malaria. 

Insecticide treated mosquito nets and indoor residual spraying (IRS) with insecticides are still arguably the most cost effective means to prevent disease transmission by Anopheles mosquitoes. With only one insecticide class available for use on insecticide-treated mosquito nets and a limited range of related modes of action available for IRS the options to manage insecticide resistance through rotation of insecticides are limited. The risks therefore exist of resistance developing to all currently available insecticides. If that were to happen the most cost-effective means of preventing malaria transmission would effectively be lost. 

Last week in the The Malaria Journal a paper was published describing the progress, challenges and way forward with the implementation of the WHO Global Plan for Insecticide Resistance Management in Malaria Vectors. Within this paper it was stated that currently indoor residual spraying (IRS) 'offers the only option for resistance management' (reflecting the limitation of only one mode of action for use on insecticide-treated nets); it also reflected on the higher cost of using non-pyrethroid products for IRS. Bayer is one of a number of the leading R&D-based LifeScience companies, working on solutions to address this. In addition to partnering with the IVCC to develop completely new active ingredients for Public Health use; Bayer also recognises the need for new solutions to be available quickly and therefore has a number of initiatives investigating the re-purposing of existing compounds for use in vector control. This reflects a near five-fold increase in our investment into vector control new product development over the last ten years. Through these initiatives we are committed to be able to deliver more cost-effective IRS solutions, addressing needs for resistance management in the near future. 

With the various initiatives underway across several organizations, including the IVCC, we thought it appropriate to try and create a visualisation of the future landscape of solutions for insecticide-treated nets and IRS. This can be seen in the image below. To date we know of no other single point of reference which illustrates what is currently in development or in planning phase. We share this to give a holistic and, in our view, positive perspective to the malaria community on what should be available for insecticide resistance management in the future within existing mainstream interventions.