Pharma cos need to find chemical attractants to fight menace of mosquito-borne diseases. Dr Biju Soman

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In the wake of increasing number of mosquito borne diseases and high mortality rates happening every year, the pharmaceutical industry in India should find some chemical attractants for using in ovitraps, the devices used for mosquitoes to lay eggs.

Besides, it is the onus of the pharma companies to detect an operational system or mechanism with a ‘spatio-temporal modeling’ to save the society from mosquito-borne diseases, said Dr. Biju Soman, Additional Professor at the Achutha Menon Centre for Health Science Studies (AMCHSS), attached with the Sree Chitra Tirunal Institute for Medical Sciences and Technology (SCTIMST), Thiruvananthapuram.

He was delivering a speech on the subject, ‘Geo-spatial Analysis of Mosquito-borne Diseases, the potential for participatory surveillance’, at Ahalia School of Pharmacy at Palakadu in Kerala.

The pharmacy academic institution conducted a two day pharmaceutical conferences on ‘Drug Development and Research in Mosquito-borne Diseases”, with participation from the Kerala State Council for Science, Technology and Environment and the Indian Council for Medical Research, New Delhi.

Later while speaking to Pharmabiz over telephone, Dr. Biju Soman said, an attempt by pharmaceutical companies for a chemical attractant and a system of operation based on space and time will more help to eliminate all kinds of mosquitoes than the attempts being made by entomologists to eradicate the vectors.

By using the latest Information Communication Technology (ICT), he said, AMCHSS is now engaged in developing a new App, and with the help of it, the smart phone users can record the mosquito perception index (MPI), and pass on to the concerned health agencies to take urgent measures for destroying them. The system can attract more youngsters and students into this ICT mechanism to help the healthcare system.

For this, each household or office or institution should maintain at-least one ovitrap to keep a tab on the mosquito density in the area.

According to Dr Biju Soman. the role of the health system should be to steward the community with sustainable control strategies which should have a symbiotic relationship with mosquitoes, our cohabitants on earth. At present only a committed group of students or community volunteers are involved in such activities like clearing debris, minor engineering works and other source reduction activities. The new App will attract more students into this field of health work.

He said, as an experimental basis, an area in Kochi has been identified and ovitraps have been set up in various areas there. Students with smart phones are assigned to apply the App for the new experiment.

“Diseases like malaria, filaria, yellow fever, dengue, chikungunya, Japanese encephalitis, eastern equine encephalitis, St. Lois encephalitis, La crosse encephalitis, western equine encephalitis, west nile virus infection, zika virus infection…etc are spread by distinct types of mosquitoes. Knowledge on the bionomics, breeding and biting pattern, of mosquitoes is very important and crucial in their control strategies. For example, not all species of mosquitoes are seen together in a place, the breeding habits and biting preferences vary with species. The subgroups of different species have varying capacities to spread disease agents’, said the doctor.

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