Open Access 240 Compound Collection Launched in Fight Against Infectious and Mosquito-Borne Illnesses for World Mosquito Day 
Aedes aegypti mosquito can spread Zika fever, dengue, and other diseases.

To mark World Mosquito Day, 20 August, the Global Health Priority Box has been launched to provide free access to 240 compounds to stimulate research into new drugs and insecticides. 

The initiative, launched by the Medicines for Malaria Venture (MMV) and the Innovative Vector Control Consortium (IVCC), provides scientists with starting points to advance the development of tools that can tackle several priorities set out by the WHO in late 2021, including drug resistance and communicable diseases. 

Every year vector-borne diseases such as malaria cause the loss of more than 700,000 lives annually, predominantly in regions with tropical climates in low- and middle-income countries. Major vector-borne diseases account for 17% of the global burden of communicable diseases.

Recent studies have shown that climate change has the potential to shift the regions in which disease-carrying mosquitoes breed, introducing new pathogens to previously unaffected areas. 

For example, the spread of malaria, caused by a parasite that spreads to humans and other animals through the bites of infected female mosquitoes, increases in temperatures of around 25ºC.

Coupled with the increasing prevalence of drug-resistant superbugs and insecticide resistance, it is clear that new tools are needed to fight against vector-borne diseases. 

“Efforts to end infectious diseases will only succeed if we have the tools to treat and prevent them,” said Dr Timothy Wells, MMV’s Chief Scientific Officer. 

Collection of compounds for malaria, neglected and zoonotic diseases, and more 

The collection features 240 compounds that can be used against drug-resistant malaria, neglected and zoonotic diseases, and other diseases at risk of drug resistance.

This includes:  

  • 80 compounds with confirmed activity against drug-resistant malaria. 
  • 80 compounds for screening against neglected and zoonotic diseases, and diseases at risk of drug resistance.
  • 80 compounds that have been tested for activity against various vector species. 

Priority Box’s ‘open approach’ emphasizes international collaboration 

The Global Health Priority Box’s builds on the reaction of the scientific community to the COVID-19 pandemic, which demonstrated that international collaboration accelerates the development of new tools, diagnostics and vaccines. 

Its open approach invites scientists to make screening results publicly available and to publish findings in an open access journal within two years following data generation. Such an approach allows for researchers around the world to build on one another’s work, saving time and resources.

“Open innovation is one of the keys to unlocking drug discovery because it allows us to tap into existing knowledge and expertise and build on it collaboratively,” said Wells. 

Dr Nick Hamon, CEO of IVCC, noted the need for innovation in vector control due to the increased prevalence of insecticide resistance, “which is undermining the efficacy of bed nets and indoor residual sprays, the cornerstone of malaria prevention since the turn of the century.”

“Open access to new chemistry will encourage greater collaboration across the scientific community, bringing new innovators into public health and potentially more rapid development of new vector control solutions,” he said. 


Image Credits: Sanofi Pasteur/Flickr.

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