Part 2 of our Malaria Gamechangers series (check out Part 1) focuses on next-generation bed nets that use insecticide combinations to combat the emerging threat of pyrethroid resistance. Specifically, we highlight the efforts of BASF and a group of partners – Innovative Vector Control Consortium (IVCC), Unitaid, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, MedAccess, and others – to develop and mass-distribute the Interceptor® G2 bed net. This first-in-class bed net has shown high rates of efficacy against resistant mosquitoes. Over 35 million units have already been distributed across 16 African countries.
United to Beat Malaria’s Margaret McDonnell interviewed Achim Reddig, BASF’s Director of Global Public Health, at the 2022 American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene Annual Meeting in Seattle. You can watch the film and read the full interview below.
Ms. McDonnell: So could you talk to us why Interceptor® G2 is a gamechanger?
Mr. Reddig: Interceptor® G2 is a unique chemistry with a unique mode of action, being the first-of-class [insecticide-treated bed net] having proven in the last three years to reduce malaria up to 55%.
Ms. McDonnell: That’s incredible. So where are Interceptor® G2’s currently being piloted or implemented.
Mr. Reddig: So basically as of today in all malaria-burden countries. So we focus on sub-Saharan Africa, but also outside of Africa – Indonesia, we have registration in Brazil. And we will continue to register in all countries where malaria is a problem.
Ms. McDonnell: What were some of the challenges and opportunities that you faced as a company to bring this innovation to market.
Mr. Reddig: I mean, the first challenge definitely was the long timeline to develop and to regulate this technology. It’s 15 years, up to the day, since we started. And then with the implementation, we had interim pre-qualification, and we were able to start to roll out four years ago, with the help of our partners, under the volume guarantee. And I think that was absolutely crucial to make this technology available for the countries who needed it most, where you have resistance against pyrethroids.
Ms. McDonnell: What gap does Interceptor® G2 fill in the malaria prevention toolbox?
Mr. Reddig: I think the biggest unmet need of our partners and the malaria community was the resistance against pyrethroids. So the standard technology is not working anymore probably, and so in Interceptor® G2 we offered a technology which is highly effective in these conditions.
Ms. McDonnell: So what were some of the challenges you overcame, particularly during COVID-19?
Mr. Reddig: I mean, the main problem was definitely the shutdowns in China, in Thailand, where we produce Interceptor® G2, but also the supply chain disruptions, the container shortage. We overcame it by simply having a very good plan in place. We worked with safety stock, we used alternative ways to transport, so basically using airplanes to ship our chemistry. We assumed all those costs to make this Interceptor® G2 innovation available to the countries and not to stop production or not to stop the supply. And we coped, actually, with all the demand coming up.
Ms. McDonnell: Wonderful. And what’s kind of your long-term goal, or maybe some of the lessons you learned from the 15 years-plus of development?
Mr. Reddig: I mean, the long-term goal, for sure, regarding Interceptor® G2 is to make a very robust quality available to all the countries who need it. So we started to ramp up production, but also learn from the messages we get back from our partners and use this information to develop the next generation – so Interceptor G3, based on the co-creation we have done with our partners to learn from what we hear out of the countries and, and continue innovating.
Stay tuned as we highlight a new Malaria Gamechanger each week throughout April and May!