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Navy Medicine, Private Industry Partnership Seeks Malaria, Mosquito Control In Africa

Navy News Service

Story Number: NNS120321-10

By Lt. Ryan Larson, Navy Entomology Center of Excellence Public Affairs

ACCRA, Ghana (NNS) -- The Navy Entomology Center of Excellence (NECE) headquartered at Naval Air Station Jacksonville announced March 21 a key collaboration with an international company as part of a program to discover new public health pesticides for controlling mosquitoes.

Vestergaard Frandsen (VF) is an international company based in Europe that specializes in complex emergency response and disease control products.

VF is interested in techniques developed by NECE and the United States Department of Agricultural Center for Medical and Veterinary Entomology (CMAVE) to aid in the discovery of new insecticides with new active ingredients for use in treating bed nets and conducting indoor residual pesticide applications, the cornerstone of malaria prevention programs in Africa.

Katelyn Chalaire, NECE entomologist, will provide direct support to Vestergaard Frandsen's pesticide discovery initiative. Chalaire's expertise stems from her work in the discovery and evaluation of new pesticides used to control mosquitoes as part of the congressionally mandated Deployed War-Fighter Protection (DWFP) Program.

Chalaire and Dr. James Becnel of CMAVE in Gainesville, Fla., presented a training workshop on pesticide screening procedures at VF's laboratory in Accra. NECE has collaborations with civilian and government agencies, including CMAVE, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

"I conducted a toxicology screening workshop for five laboratory technicians and the laboratory manager of the VF-Ghana research laboratory," said Chalaire. "This workshop will enable the CMAVE and VF-Ghana screening programs to exchange chemicals for evaluation and will be beneficial to DoD's goal of identifying new chemicals for vector control."

The workshop included an oral presentation detailing advanced pesticide screening techniques used by Chalaire, followed by a hands-on demonstration of the screening protocol. Ultimately, the training standardized methods between the two labs, promoting product and results exchanges.

According to Chalaire, mosquitoes are developing resistance to insecticides commonly used in public health programs, so it is imperative to identify new compounds for both military and non-military use to control human disease transmitted by blood-feeding insects.

"Chemicals with new modes of action will be targeted in an effort to overcome insecticide-resistant insect populations," said Chalaire. "This coincides with efforts of CMAVE and NECE as part of the Deployed War-Fighter Protection Program to discover new public health pesticides and identify new strategies for insecticide-resistance management."

Although VF is focused on finding new products to be used on bed nets, these insecticides with new modes of action could also be used as an alternative to permethrin currently used to treat military fabrics (e.g., uniforms, tents, barriers, etc.), during residual insecticide applications, and as a spatial spray against resistant mosquitoes and other disease carriers, or "vectors."

"I am thrilled to have the opportunity to work on a project that has so much potential for the development of a new insecticide that could be used to protect our troops," said Chalaire.

Chalaire said the trip was also a great learning experience. She travelled to a small, rural village in Wenchi, Ghana, to visit a clinical study site where she learned how VF's bed nets are being evaluated for durability, ease of use, and efficacy.

"The most interesting part of the trip to Ghana was learning about Vestergaard Frandsen's new product development projects, specifically bed nets and durable wall linings for protection against malaria-vectoring mosquitoes," said Chalaire. "The products that VF is developing could easily translate into products that could be used for troop protection when they are deployed to geographic areas where mosquito-borne diseases are endemic."

While visiting the study site, Chalaire attended a brief meeting with the village chief, observed the testing set ups, and observed how the bed nets were being used by the people of Wenchi.

"As a young entomologist, it was such an amazingly inspiring experience," said Chalaire.

NECE is a field activity of the Navy and Marine Corps Public Health Center, and is part of the Navy Medicine team, a global healthcare network of 63,000 Navy medical personnel around the world who provide high quality health care to more than 1 million eligible beneficiaries. Navy Medicine personnel deploy with Sailors and Marines worldwide, providing critical mission support aboard ship, in the air, under the sea and on the battlefield.

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