Project: PSOP24-377: An infectious bite marker for sensitive malaria detection and population level surveillance

Acronym PSOP24-377 (Reference Number: TMA2016CDF-1605)
Duration 01/07/2018 - 30/06/2021
Project Topic The tools used in measuring malaria transmission intensity have different sensitivities at different geographical scales in time and space. This reflects changes in vector exposure, parasite infections and the dynamics of changing human immunity. Thus, the intrinsic sensitivity of the tools to detect short term changes in transmission will be highly desirable. As international efforts towards malaria elimination increase, accurate data on transmission intensity will be crucial for directing control efforts, developing and testing new interventions, as well as predicting the effects of these interventions under various conditions. However, current tools; the entomological inoculation rate, parasite infection and serological measures have limitations in either sensitivity at low-level transmission or lack the inherent ability to track short-term changes. Again changes measured by these traditional tools reflect either parasite or vector exposure but not both. The ideal tool for tracking malaria transmission intensity should reflect both exposure to the vector, parasite infection and human immunity as well as detect short-term changes and also be applicable at both individual and population level. We have identified sporozoite and ookinete proteins which human immune response correlates with seasonal vector and parasite exposure and thus a promising ideal marker for an infectious bites. The role of infectious bite markers to detect short-term changes in malaria transmission has not been thoroughly studied. Using longitudinal community cohorts, under varying transmission levels, we will study the dynamics of antibody response to candidate biomarkers in comparison to other salivary proteins to validate infectious-bite markers. It is hoped that these biomarkers will prove to be sensitive for the identification of transmission hotspots, vulnerable populations and inform focused interventions to speed up malaria elimination. The fellowship will strengthen my capacity in protein chemistry and bioinformatics. Predict immunogenic epitopes and design synthetic peptides; to develop standard infectious bite markers that can be applied in other parts of Africa. I will acquire project management and writing skills to enable publication of quality research articles and become competitive in grant funding. At the end, I hope to become an independent researcher, charting my path as a research leader in Africa.
Network EDCTP2
Call Career Development Fellowships 2016

Project partner

Number Name Role Country
1 Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology Coordinator Ghana