“Insect vector-borne disease” is the term commonly used to describe an illness/or disease caused by an infectious microbe that is transmitted to humans or animals by vectors such as mosquitoes, ticks, sandflies or flies. A number of diseases are transmitted this way.
The major vector-borne diseases together account for around 17% of the estimated global burden of communicable diseases and claim more than 700,000 lives every year. In 2017 the World Health Organisation (WHO) issued a Global Vector Control Response with the aim to reduce mortality due to vector-borne diseases by at least 75%, and reduce case incidence by at least 60%, by 2030.
Malaria is a substantial global health risk estimated to have had 219 million cases in 87 countries and caused 435,000 deaths in 2017 alone. In 2017, a total of US$3.1 billion was invested in malaria control and elimination activities. The direct cost associated with malaria (such as medical treatment, illness and fatalities) has been estimated at approximately US$12 billion annually in Africa alone.
The emergence of the Zika virus and re-emergence of dengue fever are also problematic. Many current insecticides have proven to be ineffective in combating the spread of these diseases, suggesting new solutions are required to overcome growing insecticide resistance.
As of April 2016, 42 countries reported their first outbreak of the Zika virus. The United Nations Development Program estimated that the spread of the Zika virus to Latin America and the Caribbean alone will cost between US$7-18 billion for 2015 to 2017, and no solution currently exists.
WHO has reported the number of dengue fever cases increased from 2.2 million in 2010 to 3.3 million in 2016. Dengue fever, together with associated dengue haemorrhagic fever (DHF), is the world’s fastest growing vector borne disease. The estimated aggregate global cost of dengue fever was approximately US$8.9 billion per year in 2013.
The numbers presented here illustrate the size of the problems that Bio-Gene is targeting. These diseases are a part of a growing global issue and represent a significant threat to human health. They have enormous negative impact on economic and social life despite considerable national and international control efforts. There is demand for control products with improved efficacy over existing products that block resistance mechanisms across a range of disease vectors.