New frontiers in vector control

WHO,  World Health Organization,  2022.

Ever since Sir Ronald Ross discovered malaria parasites in an Anopheles mosquito in 1897, controlling insect vectors has played an increasingly important role in reducing the burden of the disease. For decades after World War II, indoor residual spraying (IRS) with insecticides was the only weapon against mosquitoes and proved a blunt and reasonably effective instrument for protecting people inside their homes. Then, beginning in the early 2000s, insecticide-treated nets (ITNs) became a new addition to countries’ vector control strategies. Thanks, in part, to the wide deployment of these 2 WHO-recommended interventions, the world made remarkable gains against malaria in the period 2000–2015. But progress plateaued, and this troubling slowdown was exacerbated by COVID-19. According to WHO’s latest World malaria report, 2020 saw a rise in the global burden of malaria, with an estimated 627 000 deaths and 241 million new cases of the disease. Getting back on track, and meeting WHO’s targets of a 90% reduction in malaria case incidence and mortality rates by 2030, will require renewed global attention, increased funding, and continued research and development of new interventions, among other actions. In the field vector control, researchers are working on several innovations that aim to enhance efforts to combat the disease.

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