In 2020, the CDC estimates that there were 241 million cases of malaria globally, of which 627,000 people died. Unfortunately, many of the mortalities were associated with children in sub-Saharan Africa, where areas like Tanzania have been hit especially hard. Medical XPress explains that while efforts have been made to control the spread of malaria, mosquitos are becoming resistant to insecticides like pyrethroids.
However, Medical XPress continues, researchers have discovered that treating mosquito nets with both pyrethroid and chlorfenapyr, another type of insecticide, helped reduce rates of pediatric malaria. In a medical study, researchers compared the efficacy of chlorfenapyr nets with the current standard (pyrethroids). Through this, the researchers highlighted how chlorfenapyr can fill the unmet need and kill mosquitos who have become resistant to pyrethroids.
To learn more, take a look at the study findings published in The Lancet.
Chlorfenapyr Nets: The Benefits
Solutions Pest & Lawn provides an overview of what chlorfenapyr is and how it works. The company explains that chlorfenapyr is:
a newly developed active ingredient derived from microbes known as pyrroles [which] has been proven to be particularly effective against insects that have become resistant to commonly used insecticides. Chlorfenapyr works by hindering the insects’ ability to produce energy at the cellular level [and] fights against resistance development because it takes 24-48 hours…to result in death (allowing exposed insects to pass on susceptible genes to the next generation).
The insecticide works by activating once it is ingested and metabolized by the mosquitos. Chlorfenapyr then causes muscle and wing cramping and paralysis in the mosquitos. This prevents them from moving or infecting people, and ultimately culminates in their deaths. Chlorfenapyr nets would also be cost-effective and are relatively safe.
Treating Malaria with Chlorfenapyr
Within this particular study, researchers evaluated the efficacy of three different treated nets in reducing malaria:
- Chlorfenapyr and pyrethroid
- Pyrethroid (only)
- Pyriproxyfen and pyrethroid
Altogether, researchers sourced data from over 39,000 households. Included in this data is information on 4,500 children between 6 months and 14 years of age. Findings included:
- The pyriproxyfen and pyrethroid-treated net was similarly effective to the pyrethroid only net. Overall, it did not show significant benefit in reducing the spread of malaria.
- Following a 24-month period, the chlorfenapyr nets reduced malaria rates by 43% and 37% (broken down by 12-month periods) compared to the pyrethroid only nets.
- Additionally, these chlorfenapyr nets helped significantly reduce the amount of infected mosquitos within the areas.
While these results are promising, researchers do warn against fast implementation. To ensure that mosquitos do not quickly become resistant to chlorfenapyr, these new nets must be more properly integrated into these communities.
Malaria is a mosquito-borne illness caused by a parasite. The parasite spreads to humans through the bites of infected mosquitos, causing severe illness. Additionally, malaria may also be spread through blood transfusions, sharing needles, or from mother to child. While the symptoms can be severe and debilitating, recovery is possible with treatment. Symptoms may manifest within weeks of infection. These may include:
- Chest and abdominal pain
- Nausea and vomiting
- High fever, chills, and sweating
- Muscle pain
These symptoms may occur constantly or in “attacks” of severe symptoms. Without treatment, which includes anti-malarial drugs and artemisinin-based combination therapy (ACT), complications like cerebral malaria, organ failure, or death may occur.