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Working Towards 'Counting Malaria Out' Through Scale-Up of PermaNet(R) Bed Nets, Vestergaard Frandsen Produces 175 Millionth Net; Introduces New Net To Combat Insecticide Resistance
Date:4/23/2009

World Malaria Day Events Held in Nairobi, London, Washington

LAUSANNE, Switzerland, April 23 /PRNewswire/ -- To honor the theme for World Malaria Day on 4/25, 'Counting Malaria Out,' Vestergaard Frandsen is stepping up production of its best selling bed net, called PermaNet(R), and introducing a new version that is effective against insecticide resistant mosquitoes.

Malaria claims more than one million lives every year, and leaves half of the world's population at risk of contracting the disease. Experts agree that long-lasting insecticide treated nets are among the best frontline defense against malaria. The Global Malaria Action Plan (GMAP), which is leading the charge toward universal coverage by 2010 and near zero deaths by 2015, estimates that 730 million nets must be manufactured and delivered worldwide to achieve this goal.

To help achieve these goals, Vestergaard Frandsen, which just manufactured its 175 millionth PermaNet(R) bed net, recently began an aggressive scale-up plan to boost production. The Swiss-based company's PermaNet(R) 2.0 is one of only two long-lasting mosquito nets worldwide that have a World Health Organization Pesticide Evaluation Scheme (WHOPES) full recommendation, which declares it safe and effective for the prevention and control of malaria.

But the company and leading scientists recognize that simply producing more bed nets may not solve the malaria problem, as mosquitoes have become resistant to the class of insecticides approved by the WHO for fighting malaria. Many leading scientists believe that the insecticide resistance problem could grow into a crisis in parts of Africa where resistance has become well documented.

Dr. Vincent Corbel, senior research fellow at IRD in Benin, spoke on this issue at a symposium on insecticide resistance held in Nairobi on April 23. He noted that "we need better knowledge on the genetic basis of insecticide resistance to develop rapid and reliable diagnostic tools for resistance monitoring and management." Dr. Corbel added that "integration of two or more insecticide classes within the same net is an option."

In December of 2008, Vestergaard Frandsen received WHOPES interim recommendation for its next generation bed net called PermaNet(R) 3.0 -- the new net addresses the insecticide resistance issue by combining a traditional insecticide with a synergist. "The new net is an excellent complement to PermaNet(R) 2.0," explained Mikkel Vestergaard Frandsen, CEO of his family company. "Together these nets represent highly effective tools for the global fight against malaria," Mr. Vestergaard Frandsen added.

"The global scale of the malaria problem is massive," Mr. Vestergaard Frandsen noted. "But with strong support from the public and private sector we believe the ambitious goals of the GMAP are attainable. Indeed, we must do everything possible to slam the brakes on this deadly disease," he added.

In addition to co-hosting the symposium on insecticide resistance with the Kenyan Ministry of Health, Vestergaard Frandsen is involved in World Malaria Day activities around the world, including participating in a World Malaria Day breakfast meeting in London hosted by the Malaria Consortium and supporting the launch of Malaria No More UK, a new charity dedicated to ending deaths by malaria. The launch on April 21 was fronted by leading UK sports figures David Beckham, Andy Murray and Denise Lewis who endorsed the vital role of bed nets as a life saving tool in Africa. (www.malarianomore.org.uk/news_stories/21).

Vestergaard Frandsen, headquartered in Lausanne, Switzerland, is an international company specializing in complex emergency response and disease control products. The company operates under a unique Humanitarian Entrepreneurship business model. This "profit for a purpose" approach has turned humanitarian responsibility into its core business. Vestergaard Frandsen was founded in 1957 and has evolved into a multinational leader focused on helping to achieve the UN's Millennium Development Goals. For more information please visit www.vestergaard-frandsen.com.

    Contact: 
    Peter Cleary, Communications Director, Vestergaard Frandsen
    Office +1-212-984-1026, Cell +1-347-653-5857; pc@lifestraw.com


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