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BASF, MedAccess and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation collaborate to bring innovative mosquito nets to malaria-endemic countries
The agreement enables BASF to better plan long-term resources and reduce the cost of the new nets by an average of 40% over the contract period. This will make the nets more accessible and affordable for countries where insecticide resistance is growing, and conventional nets are becoming less effective. The new nets will help to protect the health of millions of people particularly in countries across sub-Saharan Africa, including Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire and Mali.
Trevor Mundel, President of Global Health at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation said: “Mosquito control, particularly through bed nets, has been the cornerstone of our progress against malaria over the past 15 years. But insecticide resistance is threatening progress in some of the highest-burden countries. This agreement will help us stay ahead of resistance and bring new tools that are much needed to the fight against a disease that can be effectively prevented.”
Every year, malaria kills around 435,000 people and there are an estimated 219 million cases. Nowhere is the problem more severe than in Africa with more than 90% of deaths. Beyond loss of life, malaria disrupts education, industries and national economies. It is a major cause of global poverty. Saori Dubourg, member of the BASF board of directors said: “For half the world’s population, every day is a fight against malaria. Malaria is preventable and treatable, yet it still causes the death of a child under five years old every two minutes. This agreement will ensure that this innovative new net technology gets to those regions where it is most needed and saves lives.”
In recent years, the fight against malaria has made significant progress. Insecticide-treated mosquito nets have been responsible for 69% of the 663 million clinical cases of malaria averted between 2000 and 2015. However, after many years of declining incidence rates, the highly adaptable mosquito has developed resistance to the insecticides commonly used in malaria prevention, causing the number of cases to rise again. More than 60 countries now report resistance to at least one insecticide class used to combat malaria. Health experts are calling for new tools and collaborations to regain momentum.
BASF’s new Interceptor G2 mosquito net is based on two insecticides and has been designed specifically to combat resistance in the fight against malaria. For more than a decade, BASF scientists worked to successfully repurpose alpha-cypermethrin and chlorfenapyr, a completely new insecticide class for public health, for use together on mosquito nets. The dual-insecticide net received an interim recommendation from the World Health Organization in 2017 – the first for a product based on a new class of chemistry in more than 30 years.
Michael Anderson, CEO of social financing company, MedAccess, said: “We are immensely motivated by the results of this collaboration. If we are to stand a chance of beating malaria, exciting new technology like the Interceptor G2 mosquito nets must be made widely available. By introducing a new financial model, we have been able to support a reduction in the price of the nets, speed up their distribution and ensure there is a reliable supply. Now, we will replicate efforts in other areas to ensure financial and practical barriers to accessing medicines are broken down, for good.”
Dr Yacouba Savadogo is national coordinator for the Programme National de Lutte contre le Paludisme in Burkina Faso, where the first nets will be distributed in 2019. He is also optimistic that malaria can be beaten if organizations work together. “It will depend on strategy, finance and implementation, but with combined and continuous efforts, we can do it,” he commented. “We have to combine many approaches and put our forces together to fight malaria across whole regions, because mosquitoes do not respect borders.”
Today’s announcement is a key achievement for public private partnership and reflects the commitment of organizations such as the Innovative Vector Control Consortium (IVCC) who partnered with BASF to support the development of the Interceptor G2 nets. It also supports the objectives of the New Nets Project, co-financed by the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria and Unitaid, and led by IVCC. The New Nets Project will pilot and evaluate the impact of mosquito nets with new insecticide combinations in countries hardest hit by malaria. Overall, the agreement builds on the collaboration and efforts of the Global Fund, Unitaid and the Clinton Health Access Initiative, who are helping to bring life-saving products to communities afflicted with malaria.