Scientists Race to Beat Mosquito Resistance in Fight Against Malaria
Wednesday, April 29, 2015
Mosquitoes are rapidly developing resistance to insecticides used in bed nets that millions of people rely on to protect them from malaria, experts say.
Scientists are racing to develop new insecticides, warning that tens of thousands of people in Africa could die every year if mosquitoes develop full resistance before replacements are found.
The issue will be a concern when the World Health Assembly meets in Geneva next month to look at proposals to eliminate malaria in 35 countries by 2030.
An estimated 4.3 million deaths have been prevented since 2000, many of them because of the mass distribution of treated bed nets in Africa, according to Roll Back Malaria, a partnership including the World Health Organization, UNICEF and World Bank.
“Only one class of chemicals is registered and works in bed nets. It’s a unique chemistry and it’s very hard to replace,” said Nick Hamon, CEO of IVCC, a UK-based charity working with agro-chemical companies to develop new insecticides against mosquitoes.
The chemicals currently used are extremely safe for humans, are absorbed through the insects’ feet — they do not have to be eaten — and kill them within minutes. They also last for several years on the nets and are affordable.
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