Use of novel lab assays to examine the effect of pyrethroid-treated bed nets on blood-feeding success and longevity of highly insecticide-resistant Anopheles gambiae s.l. mosquitoes

Priscille Barreaux*, Jacob C. Koella, Raphael N’Guessan, Matthew B. Thomas

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: There is a pressing need to improve understanding of how insecticide resistance affects the functional performance of insecticide-treated nets (ITNs). Standard WHO insecticide resistance monitoring assays are designed for resistance surveillance and do not necessarily provide insight into how different frequencies, mechanisms or intensities of resistance affect the ability of ITNs to reduce malaria transmission. Methods: The current study presents some novel laboratory-based assays that attempt to better simulate realistic exposure of mosquitoes to ITNs and to quantify impact of exposure not only on instantaneous mortality, but also on blood-feeding and longevity, two traits that are central to transmission. The assays evaluated the performance of a standard ITN (Permanet® 2.0; Vestergaard Frandsen), a ‘next generation’ combination ITN with a resistance-breaking synergist (Permanet® 3.0) and an untreated net (UTN), against field-derived Anopheles gambiae sensu lato mosquitoes from Côte d’Ivoire exhibiting a 1500-fold increase in pyrethroid resistance relative to a standard susceptible strain. Results: The study revealed that the standard ITN induced negligible instantaneous mortality against the resistant mosquitoes, whereas the resistance-breaking net caused high mortality and a reduction in blood-feeding. However, both ITNs still impacted long-term survival relative to the UTN. The impact on longevity depended on feeding status, with blood-fed mosquitoes living longer than unfed mosquitoes following ITN exposure. Exposure to both ITNs also reduced the blood-feeding success, the time spent on the net and blood-feeding duration, relative to the untreated net. Conclusion: Although a standard ITN did not have as substantial instantaneous impact as the resistance-breaking net, it still had significant impacts on traits important for transmission. These results highlight the benefit of improved bioefficacy assays that allow for realistic exposure and consider sub- or pre-lethal effects to help assess the functional significance of insecticide resistance. Graphical Abstract: [Figure not available: see fulltext.].

Original languageEnglish
Article number111
Number of pages9
JournalParasites and Vectors
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 28 Mar 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported in part by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Grant No. OPP1131603.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022, The Author(s).


  • Anopheles gambiae
  • Blood feeding inhibition
  • Delayed mortality
  • Pyrethroid resistance
  • Sublethal effect
  • Vector control

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