Bayer commits to help eradicate malaria by 2040
This week, at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in London, Bayer joined with members of the agriculture industry – BASF, Mitsui Chemicals, Sumitomo Chemical Company and Syngenta – to pledge its ongoing support to the research, development and supply of innovative vector control solutions, to help eradicate malaria by 2040. The industry collaboration is coordinated by the Innovative Vector Control Consortium (IVCC) and supported by its funders including the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
Since 2000, there has been unprecedented progress in the fight against malaria; deaths have been cut by 60%, saving almost 7 million lives. Nearly 80% of malaria cases averted in this same timeframe have been due to vector control products, such as long-lasting insecticide treated bed-nets (LLINs) and indoor residual spraying (IRS) of houses, interventions which remain the most effective and cost efficient means to prevent malaria.
The declaration, signed under the ‘ZERO by 40’ banner, comes at an opportune time; progress towards ending the disease has stalled. The World Health Organization’s recent World Malaria Report confirmed a resurgence of malaria, registering 5 million more cases in 2016 compared to the previous year and vector control solutions are increasingly challenged by growing resistance to the limited number of insecticides available.
Dr. Jacqueline M. Applegate, Member of the Crop Science Executive Committee & President of Environmental Science, said: “The magnitude and global reach of the disease requires the engagement of all major stakeholders to work together if we are to achieve our bold and ambitious goal of ending the malaria burden within a generation. The declaration signed today with our industry partners confirms the willingness to mobilize our diverse know-how and resources.”
Bayer has been involved in the development and supply of effective vector control tools for more than 60 years and continues to invest significantly into the research for innovative solutions to address resistance and other challenges in disease transmission. The company has people engaged across Africa understanding the local culture and challenges of living and working in an area associated with vectorborne diseases.
Working in partnership with IVCC for over a decade, Bayer is pursuing the development of a novel insecticide active ingredient, which has recently progressed into a new development phase. Assuming successful progress through further phases, a new and unique solution effective in controlling insecticide resistant mosquitoes could be available for use alongside other important tools to improve the impact of malaria control programs. This represents an important milestone in the long-term commitment to the fight against malaria.
In the near future Bayer will also make available, Fludora Fusion, the first product to combine two modes of action for use in malaria indoor residual spray programs. Evaluation by WHO is expected to be completed towards the end of 2018, after which the product will be available to further contribute to the impact of malaria disease control.
“Investing into a future pipeline of vector control tools in a collaborative manner is essential if we are to increase our chances in overcoming challenges such as resistance and ensure sustainable malaria prevention for the millions at risk. At Bayer, we are committed to using research and innovation to improve people’s lives and are very proud to be a signee of this declaration,” added Dr. Jacqueline M. Applegate.
World Malaria Day on April 25th raises awareness of malaria and other vector-borne diseases.