Anti-malaria netting developed by the EU-funded project MCD has received US$10.2 million in funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation for field tests of the invention in Côte d'Ivoire and Tanzania.
Around 6 000 houses in 20 rural villages in Côte d’Ivoire are targeted for the trial of the netting inserts, which fit into ventilation PVC tubes put into walls below a house’s eaves to protect those inside. Mosquitoes tend to enter these ‘eave tubes’ when trying to enter the house, but end up on the netting, and make contact with the insecticide.
“The aim is to provide scientific evidence that the invention works to reduce malaria and could be broadly deployed,” says MCD project coordinator Bart Knols of In2Care in the Netherlands. “These data are needed to move through the WHO approval process and receive endorsement for the approach.”
The WHO’s endorsement opens the door for wider use and funding of eave tubes in malaria-ridden countries. In2Care, a private company, supplies the eave tube inserts.
For the field test, In2Care will be collaborating with researchers from Penn State University, the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and Côte d’Ivoire’s Institute Pierre Richet.
The researchers will examine children in the test villages for the presence of malaria parasites in their blood and compare them with children of equivalent control villages that have not been supplied with eave tubes. This will determine the effect of the intervention on malaria incidence.
As part of the test, the researchers will monitor mosquitoes in the villages for insecticide resistance. They will also analyse homeowner acceptance and develop strategies for implementation across different regions and markets.
In2Care is ramping up production for the trial in Côte d’Ivoire and elsewhere in Africa, Knols says. The company plans to produce nearly a quarter of a million tubes in 2016.
In Tanzania, tubes will be installed in 2 000 houses in peri-urban Dar es Salaam and Morogoro with funding from the UK’s development arm, UKAid, through the Human Development Innovation Fund.
Gates Foundation funding will also be deployed later on in the project for additional installations in Tanzania.
Project acronym: MCD
Participants: Netherlands (Coordinator), Germany, Belgium, Tanzania, United States