Evaluating mass-distribution of anti-parasitic drugs to fight malaria

Mosquitoes die quickly after biting humans and livestock treated with the drug

Challenges

The world is not on track to achieve the goals proposed by WHO in the Global Technical Strategy for Malaria 2016-2030, and available tools are unlikely to suffice. WHO data from 2015–2018 shows minimal progress in reducing global malaria incidence. There were an estimated 228 million cases in 2018.

Vector control, the most effective strategy for fighting malaria, is doubly threatened by widespread insecticide resistance and behavioral adaptations that allow mosquitoes to elude treated bed nets and homes treated with long-lasting sprays. A new challenge has been presented by the emergence of COVID-19.  As COVID continues its rapid spread and disrupts malaria services, there has been an increase in malaria incidence.

Solutions

ISGlobal’s project, known as BOHEMIA (Broad One Health Endectocide-based Malaria Intervention in Africa), seeks to reduce malaria transmission with the help of the anti-parasitic drug ivermectin, which kills biting mosquitos. The project will evaluate the impact of the mass distribution of ivermectin in Tanzania and Mozambique during the rainy season, when malaria is most prevalent.

BOHEMIA complements malaria-preventing tools Unitaid supports through projects that are introducing insecticide-treated bed nets, long-lasting indoor insecticide sprays, malaria vaccine’s and better medicines for treatment and prevention.

Progress so far

The project is working towards completing required preparations for the initiation of ivermectin Mass Drug Administration (MDA) clinical trials in Mozambique and Tanzania. The trials were planned to start in early 2021, but have been delayed to 2022 due to disruptions caused by COVID-19.

The impact we are seeking

The project seeks to collect data on ivermectin’s safety and efficacy as a new vector control tool by looking at the following: mosquito behavior, the economy, environment, and community acceptance of the drug. If ivermectin is proven effective as a new vector control tool that addresses residual malaria transmission and outdoor biting, for the five years post-project (2022-2027) 18 million cases can be averted.

 

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