Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine to develop field kit to detect insecticide resistance in mosquitoes
28 May 2009
Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine (LSTM) has been awarded a £1.1m
grant by the US National Institutes of Health to lead a five-year
project to develop a Field Applicable Screening Tool (FAST) kit to
detect resistance to public health insecticides in mosquitoes.
The two principal methods for control of malaria in sub-Saharan
Africa are the use of insecticide-treated bednets (ITNs) and indoor
residual spraying (IRS) of insecticides.
Scientists at LSTM, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in
the US, Ghana’s Biotechnology and Nuclear Agricultural Research
Institute and Uganda’s National Livestock Resources Research Institute
will be working in partnership to identify genes that render
malaria-carrying mosquitoes resistant to a range of insecticides that
are used for IRS and ITN.
At present information on underlying resistance mechanisms of the two
most important mosquito species is very limited.
Based upon this knowledge, a rapid and cost-effective DNA-based
screening kit will be designed, tested and rolled out for use by control
programme staff in the regions of sub-Saharan Africa where malaria and
filariasis, a disabling and disfiguring condition also spread by
mosquitoes, is endemic.
The new screening tools will provide information vital for predicting
the success of IRS and ITN programmes.
Project leader Dr Martin Donnelly, Senior Lecturer in Vector Biology
at LSTM said: “Malaria control in Africa is reliant upon the use of
insecticides against mosquitoes. Therefore if the mosquitoes develop
high levels of resistance to these insecticides the public health impact
could be devastating.
"We are proposing to develop DNA-based tests which are sensitive
enough to detect resistance when it is at a low level and thereby enable
control programme staff to take action to reduce the build up of
The rollout of FAST kits will be facilitated in collaboration with
existing programmes run by IVCC, TDR (a World Health Organisation
programme for research and training in tropical diseases) and PMI (US
President’s Malaria Initiative).
Malawi scientists conduct DNA-based tests
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