The sterile insect technique and transgenic equivalents are considered promising tools for controlling vector-borne disease in an age of increasing insecticide and drug-resistance. Combining vector interventions with artemisinin-based therapies may achieve the twin goals of suppressing malaria endemicity while managing artemisinin resistance. While the cost-effectiveness of these controls has been investigated independently, their combined usage has not been dynamically optimized in response to ecological and epidemiological processes.
An optimal control framework based on coupled models of mosquito population dynamics and malaria epidemiology is used to investigate the cost-effectiveness of combining vector control with drug therapies in homogeneous environments with and without vector migration. The costs of endemic malaria are weighed against the costs of administering artemisinin therapies and releasing modified mosquitoes using various cost structures. Larval density dependence is shown to reduce the cost-effectiveness of conventional sterile insect releases compared with transgenic mosquitoes with a late-acting lethal gene. Using drug treatments can reduce the critical vector control release ratio necessary to cause disease fadeout.
Combining vector control and drug therapies is the most effective and efficient use of resources, and using optimized implementation strategies can substantially reduce costs.