In 2009 some 225 million people – nearly 80 percent of them from Africa – contracted malaria. Around 781,000 of these people, including a large number of children under 5, subsequently died of the disease (Source “World Malaria Report”, WHO 2010). In several African countries, such as Ethiopia, Uganda, Zambia and Malawi, Bayer for many years has participated actively in the fight against malaria, which is transmitted by the Anopheles mosquito. Two projects give special grounds for hope. A bed net sets new standards in prophylaxis and in active substance research the foundations have been laid for a breakthrough in the fight against the insects which transmit malaria.
“Bayer CropScience has played a key role in the development of insecticide-treated nets.Today, our insecticides are used in many nets.
The LifeNet is the logical progression”
Ildem Bozkurt, Project Manager, Vector Control
Environmental Science looked to collaboration with Bayer Technology Services for this and, together, they developed a completely new technology. For Ildem Bozkurt, Project Manager in the field of vector control at Environmental Science, the LifeNet™ represents a logical development: “Bayer CropScience
has played a key role in the developm nt of insecticide-treated nets. Today, our insecticides are used
in a broad range of nets. The LifeNet is the logical progression.” The net is currently being tested by the WHO in Africa and India and preparations for market launch are also under way. Bayer CropScience is also working closely on another ambitious project with the Innovative Vector Control Consortium (IVCC), an affiliation of leading institutions in the field of product development and information systems for improved vector control.
The aim of this collaboration is to find active substances with novel mechanisms of action
against malaria mosquitoes, which are resistant to conventional insecticides. The active substances will be used as “Public Health Products” to protect the health of the public at large. Since the middle of 2009, eleven members of staff have been working on the project which is scheduled to last three years. In the first year, the substances stored in the Bayer CropScience substance library underwent repeat-screening. Any substances which were identified as being active against mosquitoes were optimized and tested for efficacy. “Four new chemical classes and their modes of action were identified. Now the chemists are starting to synthesize derivatives,” explains Rainer Sonneck. The importance of the project is huge: no new mode of action against mosquitoes has been introduced for 60 years – and no new active ingredients for two decades. Although as Dr. Sonneck emphasizes, the researchers still have a long way to go. “We are just at the beginning,” he says.