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Innovative Approaches to Exploit Host Plant Metabolites in Malaria Control

Baldwyn Torto, Department of Zoology and Entomology, University of Pretoria, South Africa

February 13, 2018 12 to 1 PM Easter Standard Time
Moderated by John Beck


Seventeen percent of the global infectious diseases are vector-borne which results in more than 700,000 deaths annually. Malaria ranks highest among these diseases, causing over 400,000 deaths yearly, mainly in children under 5 years of age. However, over 90 % of the global malaria burden disproportionately affects sub-Saharan Africa. A substantial gain in malaria control and consequent reduction in malaria deaths has been achieved between 2000 and 2015 attributed to a combination of interventions including long-lasting insecticide-treated nets (LLINs), indoor residual spraying (IRS), prompt diagnosis and treatment with artemisinin-based combination therapies (ACTS). Spurred by the progress, the WHO Global Technical Strategy for Malaria 2016-2030 proposes to reduce malaria deaths by at least 40% by 2020 and malaria incidence and mortality rates by at least 90% by 2030 and eradication by 2040. Surprisingly, malaria reduction has stalled or plateaued, with the levels of malaria associated mortality and morbidity remaining the same in 2015, 2016 and 2017.

Clearly, complementary new strategies are urgently required if the WHO target can be achieved considering challenges to existing interventions such as the emergence of vector insecticide and behavioral resistance to indoor control and parasite resistance to ACTs. We argue that to develop the next generation of vector control and chemotherapeutic tools, especially based on natural products, a better understanding of mosquito ecology is needed. This presentation will highlight progress in our study of mosquito-plant interactions towards development of promising leads for malaria control.


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