Group | Vector Control

Vectors are organisms that do not cause disease themselves but spread infections by carrying pathogens from one host to another. From a medical point of view mosquitoes are particularly important vectors as they spread some of the most devastating infectious diseases such as malaria, dengue fever, West Nile fever or Zika virus infections.

Investigation of Vectors and Development of New Tools

In order to find ways to interrupt the transmission of such diseases the Vector Biology and Control Group focuses on the research in biting mosquitoes and studies their physiology, behaviour and ecology. We develop and evaluate new tools for the surveillance and control of mosquitoes and offer services to industry for testing public health pesticide products. The group is also actively contributing to research training and capacity building through teaching in various courses as well as through MSc and PhD projects.

In order to find better ways to protect humans from infectious mosquito bites we study the physiology, behaviour and ecology of mosquitoes. Field surveys inform us about the composition of a present mosquito population and whether there is a risk of disease transmission. The field surveys also show us how effective implemented control measures are.

We also use experimental approaches both in the laboratory and in the field with the aim to better understand how mosquitoes acquire, process and respond to information from their environment.

Moreover, we study how insecticide resistance and other traits depend on environmental and genetic factors. We use a series of technologies including bioassays, molecular tools, infrared video tracking, field trapping methods and biostatistics.

Mosquitoes in a cage
Volunteers on a repellent test

We have extensive experience in testing public health pesticide formulations and offer services to carry out studies to evaluate mosquito repellents and insecticides. Swiss TPH has specialist facilities to rear a range of mosquito colonies and to undertake bioassays according to internationally recognised standards. In collaboration with our African partner institutions we may also offer semi-field and field trials.

Arthropod Testing Facility

For further details on our available services, please, visit  the Arthropod Testing Facility.

Label for Mosquito Repellents

The well-known, internationally registered Swiss TPH quality label guarantees high efficacy standards for topical mosquito repellents. We particularly recommend travellers to the tropics to purchase products with our label.

Counting eggs in a mosquito trap in Ticino

The spread of invasive mosquito species able to transmit human diseases alongside returning travellers from disease endemic countries pose an emerging public health threat to Europe. In Switzerland, there are already at least three invasive mosquito species of which the Asian tiger mosquito, Aedes albopictus is of particular concern because it is a vector competent for several viruses including Zika, chikungunya and dengue. The Vector Biology and Control Group co-ordinates the national surveillance programme and acts as the regional laboratory for reporting suspected invasive mosquitoes.

Read more about the tiger mosquito

TIGER Project

TIGER (Tri-national Initiative Group of Entomology in the Upper Rhine valley) is an EU-funded INTERREG-V project with the purpose of supporting institutions responsible for public health in relation to the Asian tiger mosquito and improving communication within the tri-border region. The focus of the project group is on supporting public institutions with competent scientific and technical information. TIGER is instrumental in ensuring that access to important data related to alien mosquitoes and risk assessment is always available. More information and details about TIGER can be found here: https://tiger-platform.eu/.

In order to improve the surveillance and control of mosquitoes we develop and evaluate new diagnostic tools that use nucleic acid based approaches as well as matrix assisted laser desorption/ionisation mass spectrometry (MALDI-TOF MS) to identify cryptic mosquito species, insecticide resistance markers or pathogen identification. We evaluate candidate pesticides and new modes of delivery under lab and field conditions and develop new tests for this purpose.

Müller P et al. Surveillance of invasive Aedes mosquitoes along Swiss traffic axes reveals different dispersal modes for Aedes albopictus and Ae. japonicus. PLoS Negl Trop Dis. 2020;14(9):e0008705. DOI: 10.1371/journal.pntd.0008705

N'Dri B.P et al. Use of insecticides in agriculture and the prevention of vector-borne diseases: Population knowledge, attitudes, practices and beliefs in Elibou, South Cote d'Ivoire. Trop Med Infect Dis. 2020;5:36. DOI: 10.3390/tropicalmed5010036

Corbel V et al. Second WIN International Conference on "Integrated approaches and innovative tools for combating insecticide resistance in vectors of arboviruses", October 2018, Singapore. Parasit Vectors. 2019;12:331. DOI: 10.1186/s13071-019-3591-8

Mavridis K, Wipf N, Medves S, Erquiaga I, Müller P, Vontas J. Rapid multiplex gene expression assays for monitoring metabolic resistance in the major malaria vector Anopheles gambiae. Parasit Vectors. 2019;12:9. DOI: 10.1186/s13071-018-3253-2

Tayyrov A et al. Heterologous production and functional characterization of ageritin, a novel type of ribotoxin highly expressed during fruiting of the edible mushroom Agrocybe aegerita. Appl Environ Microbiol. 2019;85(21):e01549-19. DOI: 10.1128/AEM.01549-19