Saturday, August 11, 2018

Kate Hodal - Scientists hail malaria breakthrough as bed nets prove deadly to mosquitoes

A bed net designed to kill insecticide-resistant mosquitoes could prevent millions of cases of malaria across sub-Saharan Africa, scientists have found. A two-year clinical trial in Burkina Faso showed that dousing bed nets with a combination of chemicals resulted in a 12% reduction in clinical malaria cases, compared with conventional bed nets.

The findings, published this week in the Lancet, demonstrate a “big step forward” in the fight against malaria in Africa, which is home to 91% of all malarial deaths worldwide, said Professor Steve Lindsay of the department of biosciences at Durham University, who worked on the study. “This is simply a good news story and one to give us hope for the future,” said Lindsay. “The 12% reduction may look small, but it’s actually huge: if we had rolled the nets out across the whole of Burkina Faso, then we would have reduced the number of malaria attacks in children under five by 700,000, or by 1.2m for the whole population.”

Existing bed nets contain a single pyrethroid insecticide, to which blood-seeking malaria mosquitoes (the female Anopheles) are increasingly resistant. During the study, conventional bed nets in 91 villages in rural Burkina Faso were replaced with combination nets containing a pyrethroid insecticide and insect growth regulator, pyriproxyfen, which shortens the lives of mosquitoes and reduces their ability to reproduce... read more: