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Member Research & Reports

Member Research & Reports

Yale: Study Shows Novel Use of Mosquito-Killing Drug May Reduce Childhood Malaria

Childhood malaria episodes could be reduced by 20 percent during malaria transmission season if an entire village population were given the mosquito-killing drug ivermectin (IVM) every three weeks, according to a new study published in The Lancet international medical journal.The study represents the first scientific evidence that repeated mass administration of IVM can reduce malaria incidence in children aged five or younger without an increase in adverse events for the wider population given the drug, the researchers said.

Ivermectin reduces new cases of malaria by making a person’s blood lethal to the mosquitoes that bite them, killing mosquitoes and therefore reducing the likelihood of infection of others.“What is exciting with this novel approach is that IVM can act upon mosquitoes that bite indoors or outdoors, as the drug is being carried by humans, and therefore not limited to indoor-biting mosquitoes, such as with bed nets,” said Yale School of Public Health Dr. Sunil Parikh, one of the study’s authors.“Our study also saw an unexpected additional decrease in malaria in children who took ivermectin,” Dr. Parikh said. “This could suggest that IVM may have a direct effect on the Plasmodium parasites responsible for malaria, over and above its transmission-reducing properties with mosquitos.”

An expert in antimalarial therapy, Dr. Parikh provided genetic analysis on The Lancet study, which was led by Dr. Brian Foy, professor at Colorado State University and Dr. Roch Dabire´ professor at the Institut de Recherche en Sciences de la Sante (IRSS) in Burkina Faso. Specifically, Dr. Parikh analyzed how IVM affected Plasmodium diversity in children participating in the study, which involved 2,700 people from eight Burkina Faso villages.