Progress against the mosquito-borne infection remains fragile and African countries suffering an unprecedented epidemic of coronavirus are particularly at risk of seeing a resurgence of malaria. But a researcher from Cameroon, a country that carries a high burden of malaria, claims she has invented “atypical larvicide” to fight the deadly disease in her country.
In 2020, UNESCO and the L’Oréal Foundation listed Antoinette Ntoumba among the 20 young female scientists in Africa in recognition of her efforts to combat malaria. There are an average of 4,000 deaths from the disease reported in Cameroon yearly.
Ntoumba has spent the last seven years inventing a groundbreaking larvicide made from a secret selection of plants. This pesticide is intended to kill the larvae of mosquitos that carry malaria. She collects material for her research in the bush outside Douala.
The scientist says that her work offers a unique solution to the problem of mosquitoes’ increasing resistance to chemical pesticides. Her natural insecticide is also cheaper than many alternatives.
“What we are proposing today is innovation, because we are using plants and we are not using just one plant,” says Ntoumba, speaking with FRANCE 24. “What we are proposing is a natural, cheap product.”