Critical to reducing the burden of malaria and arboviral diseases is controlling the mosquitoes that transmit these diseases. Two main challenges exist within vector control that improved spray equipment will help to address. Firstly, to evaluate potential formulations for indoor residual spraying (IRS), they must be applied in a controlled manner to provide a uniform and reproducible deposition onto a treated surface. This currently relies on methods that give highly variable results. Secondly, the filter papers used to monitor for insecticide resistance emerging in target mosquito populations are currently treated by hand in a single centre, supported by the World Health Organization (WHO), and then shipped worldwide. This is a laborious method that would benefit from automation.
There is an opportunity to increase the standardisation, reproducibility and throughput to improve the quality of data generated, helping to streamline product development and pre- and post-market evaluation of insecticides. This project will open up opportunities for LSTM to:
- Increase our reach by establishing a greater number of industry and research partnerships
- Increase our service provision in support of evaluating vector control products
- Increase the robustness of insecticide research in LSTM and for our partners
- Enable a route to WHO recognition to address the bottlenecks in the current system
Along with Micron Sprayers Ltd and IVCC, we have developed an automated spray cabinet for the treatment of surfaces with IRS formulation in a controlled manner for laboratory use. An essential next step to developing this system and moving from proof of concept to product evaluation is the external validation for IRS applications and validation for the treatment of filter papers.