Waginingen-based startup In2Care has received a grant of 10.3 million dollar (9,3 million euro) from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to further develop a new ‘Eave Tubes’ malaria-prevention method, developed in collaboration with researchers in Africa.
The funding will be used to test the invention in approximately 6,000 homes in villages in Cote d’Ivoire and Tanzania. In2Care will be supported by researchers from the Penn State University, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and the Institute Pierre Richet in Ivory Coast.
“It’s amazing that we have achieved this with only a small team of six people in Wageningen”, Bart Knols, director of In2Care, recently stated in Dutch newspaper De Volkskrant. “The funding means international recognition for our work.”
The ‘Eave Tubes’ malaria-prevention method involves limiting the amount of mosquito’s accessing homes by installing so-callled ‘eave tubes.’ The tubes are constructed around an electrostatic coating technology that binds insecticides to the nets of the tubes.
As the mosquito lands on the tube, it comes into contact with a high dosage of insecticides. This will kill all kinds of mosquito species, even the ones highly resistant to chemical insecticides, the company claims.
Proof of concept
In2Care conducted a proof-of-concept study in which eave tubes were installed in more than 1,800 houses in the Kilombero valley in southern Tanzania. The team concluded that the tubes reduced indoor mosquito densities by up to 90 percent.
“We know that eave tubes can kill most mosquitoes when they contact electrostatic netting. But that’s not enough to convince policy makers that this approach can be added to the arsenal we have at present”, says Knols on the company’s website upon receiving the grant..
“Quite rightly so, before a new approach can be adopted we need to clearly measure the overall impact on the disease, not just the mosquitoes. That’s what we aim to do with this unique project.”
Photo by Pieter van Marion (creative commons via Flickr)