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Trial Shows Home Mosquito Device Cuts Malaria Cases

EaveTube device

EaveTube mosquito control device ready for installation. (In2Care)

26 Feb. 2021. A clinical trial shows homes installed with devices that attract then kill mosquitos have fewer malaria cases than homes with standard preventions. Results from the trial testing a device called an EaveTube made by the company In2Care in Wageningen, the Netherlands, appear today in the journal The Lancet.

Malaria, according to World Health Organization, affected 216 million people in 2016, which extracts heavy social and economic burdens in developing countries. In 2016, some 445,000 people died from malaria, of which 90 percent were in sub-Sahara Africa. Children under the age of 5 are particularly susceptible to the disease. The disease is caused by infections from the plasmodium parasite transmitted by mosquitoes. In humans, the parasite multiplies in the liver, then infects red blood cells. Symptoms, including headache, fever, and vomiting, occur 10 to 15 days following transmission from a mosquito bite.

In2Care is a developer of insect control technologies, including the EaveTube, a device to lure and kill mosquitoes like those carrying malaria-causing parasites. The EaveTube is a PVC plastic ventilation cylinder installed in the eaves, where the top of a wall meets the roof of a building. The cylinder contains a replaceable thin gauze filter coated with a cyfluthrin insecticide. At night, warm air rises to the ceiling in a home, where the air escapes through EaveTubes. The escaping air, scented with human odors, attracts mosquitos into the gauze filter. An electrostatic charge on the filter transfers insecticide to the mosquito, quickly killing the insect.

Sizable reduction in malaria cases

The clinical trial, funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, tested homes with EaveTubes and window screens against homes using conventional malaria control measures, mainly insecticide-treated netting over beds, in central Côte d’Ivoire (Ivory Coast) in 2016-19. Researchers from Pennsylvania State University and other institutions selected 40 villages, with homes in 20 villages fitted with window screens and EaveTubes, and the other villages with their usual bed nets. The study team led by Penn State postdoctoral researcher Eleanore Sternberg, now at Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine in the U.K., looked primarily for new cases of malaria in children over a two-year period.

The researchers installed EaveTubes and window screens, if needed, in 3,021 homes in the 20 test villages, while 4,168 homes in the comparison group used regular bed nets. During the study, the team tracked 1,260 children in the EaveTube/screens villages, and1,300 children in villages using bed nets for new cases of malaria.

In the two years of the study, 2,355 children in villages with EaveTubes and window screens reported contracting malaria, 35 percent fewer than the 3,635 children in villages using bed nets. That rate of malaria translates to 1.43 cases of malaria per child-year in the EaveTube/screens villages, compared to 2.29 malaria cases per child-year in the bed net villages, a 38 percent difference large enough for statistical reliability.

“In comparable studies, mosquito nets only reduce malaria by 12 percent,” says Anne Osinga, founder of In2Care, in a statement emailed to Science & Enterprise. Osinga adds that an EaveTube “disk with insecticides only costs a dime. This allows us to protect five times more homes than current control methods such as spraying insecticides on the walls. Moreover, it is better for health, because a hundred times less poison is used.”

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