Advancing Spatial Repellents for Vector-Borne Disease Control
CCP and the Department of International Health at the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health (JHSPH) are leading the social science portion of a five-year, $33.7 million grant from Unitaid designed to evaluate slow-release spatial repellents that can be easily deployed in houses and temporary shelters.
The project, Advancing Spatial Repellents for Vector-Borne Disease Control, is being led by the University of Notre Dame and involves several international partners. The program includes two clinical trials, one in Kenya and one in Sri Lanka, as well as studies among displaced populations in Mali and in refugee settings in Uganda.
The goal of the program is to further generate evidence to support a recommendation by the World Health Organization (WHO) of spatial repellent use for public health purposes and to design systems to ensure it can be deployed properly within humanitarian response situations.
Experts in mosquito-borne illnesses say that while insecticide-treated bed nets have been instrumental in the dramatic reduction of malaria cases and deaths in the past 15 years, other complementary approaches are needed to reduce the number of cases to zero.
Spatial repellents release chemicals into the air to inhibit certain insect behaviors such as feeding and encourage their movement away from a treated space. The one being tested here is a clear plastic sheet about the size of an envelope.
WHO estimates that in 2017 there were still 219 million new cases of malaria and 435,000 deaths around the world, and that dengue affects more than 3.97 billion people across 128 countries.
The evidence that CCP and the School of Public Health will generate will enable policymakers to understand under what conditions people will ultimately use these spatial repellents and whether they will consider adding this type of tool to the mix of strategies already in use to avert these diseases.
Kenya, Sri Lanka, Mali and Uganda
University of Notre Dame (prime), SC Johnson, Kenya Medical Research Institute, U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Catholic Relief Services, National Dengue Control Unit in Sri Lanka and FHI 360