Vector control interventions are considered health products and have contributed substantially to preventing vector-borne diseases. The 2019 World Malaria Report shows the number of countries with fewer than 100 indigenous malaria cases as 27 countries in 2018 (up from 17 countries in 2010), with a reduction in malaria deaths of about 140 000, worldwide, during that same time period. Recent studies indicate that 69% of cases averted were due to the use of insecticide-treated bednets, and a further 10% due to indoor spraying of insecticides.
The use of vector control products (VCPs) has also been critical in preventing the transmission of other major vector-borne diseases such as dengue fever, chikungunya, Zika virus disease, Chagas disease, lymphatic filariasis, visceral leishmaniasis, and human African trypanosomiasis.
If control and elimination targets for malaria and other vector-borne neglected tropical diseases are to be met during the 2020–2030 period, vector control interventions need to play an increasingly prominent role.
The mandate of WHO vector control prequalification is to increase access to safe, high-quality and effective VCPs
WHO VCP prequalification: history
For over 50 years, WHO has worked to support the development, evaluation and adoption of new safe, effective and high-quality VCPs. This effort is continually evolving, to better support entry of new and innovative products into the market.
In 2001, the Prequalification Unit (PQT) was established to guide United Nations agencies, other international organizations and country-level procurement bodies with respect to the quality of pharmaceutical products. The scope of PQT was then expanded to include vaccines, and medical devices – in vitro diagnostic, immunization and male circumcision.
To modernize WHO evaluation of VCPs, in 2016, VCP prequalification transitioned to the newly created Prequalification Unit Vector Control Product Assessment Team (PQT/VCP).
The WHO PQT/VCP assesses VCPs and public health pesticide active ingredients to determine that they can be used safely and effectively, and are manufactured to a high-quality standard. This is done by assessing product dossiers and inspecting manufacturing sites.
Products that meet prequalification requirements are added to the WHO List of VCPs.
VCP prequalification: process overview
In order to increase access to safe, high-quality, effective VCPs, WHO works in close cooperation with national regulatory agencies and partner organizations to ensure that quality VCPs are available to those who need them.
Through evaluation, inspection and guidance activities, WHO:
- Prequalifies VCPs that are safe, effective and manufactured to a high quality, and publishes a list of these prequalified products (creating uniform standards, and applying these to each individual application);
- Ensures prequalification validity of products throughout their life cycle; and
- Contributes to building the assessment capacity of Member State National Regulatory Authorities (NRAs); by
- training assessors from Member States through the actual WHO assessments;
- harmonizing quality and regulatory systems;
- supporting collaborative registrations.
Benefits of WHO VCP prequalification
WHO prequalification of VCPs primarily benefits populations most affected by vector-borne diseases by facilitating access to these prevention-focused tools.
WHO also supports procurers, regulators, manufacturers, the network of testing institutions and donors, in reaching their public health objectives, through listing prequalified products, assessments, ongoing inspections, technical assistance, information sharing and other capacity-building activities.