Guaranteeing that insecticides are being applied at the right concentration in the right place is crucial to the success of vector control programmes such as malaria, visceral leishmaniasis and dengue fever. However, tracking insecticide use is not a routine procedure in the field due to a lack of practical assays for detection, putting populations at increased risk of disease.
Simple visual assays (quantification tests) for the rapid and reliable monitoring of DDT, carbamate and organophosphate, the classes of insecticide commonly used against sandflies and mosquitoes are being developed at LSTM. The Insecticide Quantification Kits (IQK) are low tech and made up of components that can be bought off-the-shelf and are rapidly available. Thus, facilitating timely decision making and response to poor quality insecticide application and maximising the benefits from vector control and minimise the risks to public health and the environment.
DDT-based indoor residual spraying is integral to the elimination of visceral leishmaniasis in India, but hampered by widespread resistance and poor quality assurance of spraying activities. Researchers at LSTM working closely with colleagues at the Rajendra Memorial Research Institute of Medical Sciences in Bihar State, India have taken a simple dipstick assay for DDT into commercial prototype production and field trials. The team is working closely with State and Indian government operatives to incorporate the IQK into indoor residual spraying (IRS) training and operational procedures to make effective use of insecticides and maximise the benefits from vector control and minimise the risks to public health and the environment.
Escalating resistance to pyrethroids used in bednets across Africa means that organophosphate and carbamate derived insecticides are the next line of defence. Thus a simple affordable new diagnostic has been developed in the Vector Biology Department to monitor these insecticides. Working with Dr Luc Djougbenou from the Institut Regionale de Sante Publique de Oudah, Benin and the IVCC product development partnership, the kits are undergoing field trials to join a suite of IQKs to quality assure IRS using different kinds of insecticides in Africa and Asia.