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German chemical giant BASF has unveiled a new class of insecticide-treated mosquito nets designed to combat the spread of malaria.

The nets are coated with chlorfenapyr, the first insecticide recommended by the World Health Organization in more than 30 years. The same chemical has also been used in agriculture and for urban pest control for the past 20 years.

According to Reuters, malaria rates have fallen 60 percent since 2000. But the disease still kills about 430,000 people every year. In Africa — home to almost all of the world’s cases — a child dies from malaria every two minutes.

What’s more, mosquitos have become increasingly resistant to current chemicals used to keep them at bay.

“In some countries, the local mosquito population has increased its level of resistance 1,000-fold. It has been years since a new class of public health insecticide has appeared on the market. Alternatives are urgently needed,” medical entomologist professor Hilary Ransom from the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine told African Review.

BASF says the net will remain effective for three years or up to 20 washes. The company is also waiting for the WHO to approve another chlorfenapyr product that could be sprayed indoors on walls and ceilings.

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