Vestergaard, Noguchi mark 10 years of partnership in the fight against malaria

Michael Joos (center) and a team from the Vestergaard-Noguchi Vector Labs

Vestergaard and the Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research (NMIMR) have marked the 10th anniversary of the commencement of operation of the Vestergaard-NMIMR Vector Labs (VNVL), also known as the Vestergaard-Noguchi Vector Labs (VNVL).

Commissioned in 2011, the Lab is consistent with the Danish healthcare company’s goal of providing innovative and high-quality tools to improve healthcare in low and middle-come countries and has as its goal, the strengthening research and development of public health tools aim at addressing malaria and waterborne diseases in the country.

Addressing guests during an event to commemorate the anniversary, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) for VNVL, Michael Joos said collaboration with external partners is central to research and innovation and provides VNVL with a bird’s-eye view of both current and future vector control projects in Ghana.

“We believe that data generated in Africa should be for the benefit of the continent. It is our responsibility to ensure this locally-generated data serves as a guide for evidence-based decision making both to optimize the quality of tools we innovate and for the interventions endemic that countries should consider,” he stated.

“Research has directly attributed the birth net to reducing close to 70 percent of malaria cases in Africa and so we are turning the sides on this parasite, we are going to get this parasite once and for all and the only way we can do that is to with collaboration with the Noguchi Institute vector lab,” he added.

Over the last seven years, the VNVL has supported the National Malaria Control Program (NMCP Ghana) to generate data for the development of insecticide resistance maps.

Mr. Joos disclosed that the labs have produced three publications, reared 4,068,208 mosquitoes, and conducted more than 800,000 tests. These include stringent quality control tests of Vestergaard’s PermaNet, long-lasting insecticidal nets, the monitoring of insectary colonies and wild mosquitoes for susceptibility as well as studies on how different mosquitoes react to insecticides.

He added that the VNVL has also trained 14 scientists, including six women and 15 university graduates, through the Ghana National Service Schem, with most of the staff employed being graduates of indigenuos universities, an attestation of the success of the partnership with the VNVL in developing young scientists.

On her part, Head of Parasitology at NMIMR, Dr. Irene Ayi, said: “The Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research sees its partnership with Vestergaard as complementary and innovative as it has strengthened and built the capacities of both institutions in the area of vector research and control towards the elimination of malaria and contributed immensely to science in general.”

Medical Entomologist at the parasitology department at NMIMR, Dr. Samuel Kweku Dadzie commended efforts made by the institute towards eradicating malaria on the continent. “As researchers, we provide data to inform decision making for the malaria programme but I must say that from the update that I’ve seen, we have made a lot of progress with malaria control in Ghana,” he said.

He said there is work in progress to ending the resistance of mosquitoes to insecticides. “The main challenge for us now is the issue of resistance of mosquitoes to insecticides and that is a global challenge but in Ghana, we are not exempted, so in partnership with Vestergaard and also the malaria control programme, we have a programme currently across the country where we are monitoring the resistance of mosquitoes to the various insecticides that we use for controlling mosquitoes because insecticides are the main tool that is used for controlling mosquitoes,” he explained.

Dr. Eleanor Sternberg at the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine (LSTM), who oversees VNVL’s day-to-day operations, said, “It’s an exciting time in vector control. Everyone cares about getting rid of malaria and this partnership gives us a diverse group of people with different perspectives on how to do that.”

Michael Joos (center) and a team from the Vestergaard-Noguchi Vector Labs

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