Imagine a world without malaria
Minerals enable life-saving mosquito control.
Perlite—an active ingredient in a novel mosquito insecticide—is a potential game-changer in the global battle against malaria.
Every year, more than 400,000 people die from malaria, the majority of which are children under the age of five and pregnant women in sub-Saharan Africa.
Indoor residual sprays (IRS) have been an effective strategy to control malaria transmission and have helped reduce the number of annual deaths in recent years. However, population growth, urbanization in developing countries and climate change are megatrends helping mosquitoes evolve and become resistant to these treatments.
If IRS is to remain an important element in an integrated vector control approach for sub-Saharan Africa, alternative insecticides, particularly ones with novel modes of action are urgently needed.
A mechanical insecticide offering an alternative mode of action to current IRS insecticides
Imergard WP (Wettable Powder) is a 100%-perlite-based mechanical insecticide providing a physical mode of action. It is applied to interior walls using standard spray equipment. When the mosquito lands on a treated surface, there is a static transfer of Imergard WP particles, which absorb the lipid layer necessary for the mosquito’s survival.
In a 2019 community trial in Tanzania, where over 4,000 houses were treated, Imergard WP was able to control the malaria parasite as effectively as the gold standard chemical IRS. At the conclusion of the eight-month study, Imergard WP maintained 100% efficacy after 72 hours against a threshold target of 80% mortality.
The fact that Imergard WP held its own against the gold standard is impressive, considering that the mosquitos in this study were susceptible to the gold standard’s active ingredient
Imergard WP’s advantage is that it provides a physical mode of action and is a powerful tool in resistance management. It is not a silver bullet, but it will deter cross-chemical resistance development and complement existing IRS chemistries that are neurotoxins, which act on nerve and muscle targets.
Imerys has extended its research to see if Imergard WP can meet or exceed the new industry challenge of more than 12 months of residual efficacy. No chemical IRS achieves this target today. An IRS that has at least a 12-month residual efficacy means it can be applied at any time of the year and not just during mosquito season, resulting in increased IRS coverage.
Imergard WP helps to control multiple species of mosquitoes and has no physical, chemical, human health or environmental hazards. It has the lowest toxicity rating and is non-toxic to bees.
It's been extremely rewarding to be part of the team developing a product that will make a direct impact on the lives of people in Africa.