ERJ staff report (TP)
Pamplona, Spain – Researchers from the University of Navarra in Spain are working on a silicone implant that aims at making human blood lethal to mosquitoes for months at a time.
The small silicone rod is based on a slow-release formulation of ivermectin, a safe drug widely used in the tropics to combat parasitic diseases. The ivermectin implant, which was manufactured in California, is currently undergoing pre-clinical testing in Spain.
The idea originated from the lack of interventions targeting outdoor-biting mosquitoes, a substantial percentage of malaria vectors. The most effective tools currently used are insecticide-impregnated bed nets and indoor-residual spraying of insecticides – both tools that combat indoor-biting mosquitoes. The growing insecticide resistance among mosquitoes in endemic zones, however, hampers malaria eradication efforts.
Venezuelan researcher Dr. Carlos Chaccour said: "Once proven safe and effective in humans, our implant could be a useful addition to the mosquito control tools currently used in the fight against malaria."
After successfully crowdfunding the first part of the study, the researchers obtained very promising preliminary results and would like to raise the rest of the necessary funds through another campaign.
The Malaria Mission project is featured on Indiegogo's crowdfunding platform. The funding goal is $20,000 (€14,575), which will cover the initial pre-clinical studies lasting one year.
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Press release from University of Navarra