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WHO Recommends the Use of Pyrethroid-treated Mosquito Nets for Malaria Prevention

March 20, 2023

WHO Recommends the Use of Pyrethroid-treated Mosquito Nets for Malaria Prevention


The World Health Organization (WHO) has updated its policy on the types of insecticides used in mosquito nets for malaria prevention.


In the context of increasing resistance of disease-carrying Anopheles mosquitoes to pyrethroids (the insecticide currently used in insecticide-treated nets), WHO now recommends that areas with resistance to pyrethroids switch to pyrethroid chlorpyrifos insecticide-treated mosquito nets.


These recommendations are based on more than 15 years of research conducted by the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM) and its partners, specifically the results of two large randomized trials.


The results from Tanzania and Benin (two countries with high levels of pyrethroid resistance in mosquitoes) support the life-saving potential of chlorpyrifos-treated nets - the first time in 40 years that a new, safe and effective insecticide for use with mosquito nets has been demonstrated.


Dr. Manfred Accrombessi, assistant professor of epidemiology at LSHTM and trial manager in Benin, said, "The trials in Tanzania and Benin provide ample evidence for the promotion of chlorfenvinil-pyrethroid insecticide-treated nets. However, these new generation nets should be deployed under a comprehensive, long-term epidemic-resistant management plan to avoid repeating past mistakes."


Dr. Corine Ngufor, Associate Professor of Medical Entomology at LSHTM, added, "This WHO recommendation is an important milestone in the fight against malaria, and nearly 20 years of innovation and research have enabled us to reach this point. The expected large-scale roll-out of these nets in malaria-endemic countries in the coming years will help boost progress in the fight against malaria.


"Every effort should be made to maintain their effectiveness and to remove barriers to continued innovative vector control."


Mosquito nets are one of the primary control strategies for malaria prevention. Treated with insecticides during the manufacturing process, these nets act as a physical barrier that also repels and kills disease-carrying mosquitoes.


Until now, the World Health Organization has recommended the use of nets containing only pyrethroids (an insecticide that kills mosquitoes by interfering with their nervous system) in all areas where malaria is endemic, especially in sub-Saharan Africa.


However, as mosquitoes develop resistance to pyrethroids, the effectiveness of these nets diminishes. Subsequently, malaria cases are on the rise, with 627,000 deaths recorded in 2020, primarily in Africa, mainly in children.


In addition to this control approach, timely health surveillance is equally important. Malaria rapid testing products are an important tool for diagnosing and treating malaria in a timely manner. As malaria can have serious consequences if left untreated, it is important to identify and treat it quickly.


Malaria rapid testing products allow for quick and accurate diagnosis, so that the best treatment plan can be implemented as soon as possible. Additionally, Malaria rapid testing kits can help to reduce the spread of the disease by detecting malaria early in individuals who may not be showing symptoms. With the help of this, health care providers are able to quickly and accurately detect and treat malaria, resulting in better outcomes for patients.