Targeting mosquito breeding sites could boost malaria control efforts in Africa and Asia

The authors analysis of the data from Eritrea, The Gambia, Kenya, Mali, Tanzania, India, the Philippines, Sri Lanka and Greece suggested that where larval habitats are not too extensive and a sufficient proportion of these habitats can be targeted, LSM may reduce the number of cases of malaria and the proportion of people infected with the malaria parasite at any one time. The findings also suggest LSM could contribute to a reduction in the prevalence of splenomegaly in children an enlargement of the spleen caused by repeated malaria infections.LSM could therefore be particularly effective in urban areas, rural areas with high population densities or obvious breeding sites like small streams or swamps, highland regions and desert fringes. Interventions included adding larvicide to abandoned mine pits, streams, irrigation ditches and rice paddies where mosquitoes breed, and building dams, flushing streams and removing water containers from around peoples homes.Lead author, Lucy Tusting from the Department of Disease Control at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, said: “This is the first time the evidence on larval source management for malaria control has been systematically reviewed, and our research shows that the method can be an effective supplementary measure against malaria in both urban and rural areas of Africa and Asia — wherever it is possible to target a sufficient proportion of mosquito breeding sites.

via Targeting mosquito breeding sites could boost malaria control efforts in Africa and Asia.


MIT Team prepares next generation of devices for more reliable malaria diagnosis

The collaborative MIT team of experts in microfluidics, circuit design, materials science and microbiology has designed their new cell-differentiating technology so that it can be packaged as a low-cost device, but more work needs to be done. “We are using our combined expertise to push the technology toward real-world applications,” Dao says.

Since this new detection method can, for the first time, differentiate among the three major stages of Plasmodium falciparum’s asexual development, Marti sees another potential application: The device may also be able to distinguish cells infected with the parasite at its transmission stage, the stage in which mosquitos can pick it up from humans and transmit it to other humans. “If we could use the device to detect malaria infection and the potential for transmission at the same time, that would make it even more interesting,” Marti says.

The next steps for further development involve integrating this new technology into a small, low-cost package. “Our hope is that such technologies as those described in this work will ultimately help meet the need for a new generation of portable, disposable and inexpensive diagnostics for a variety of human diseases,” Suresh says.

The team is also interested in using the device to investigate the electrical properties of other types of diseased cells to see if electrical impedance changes could be used for diagnostics.

This work was carried out with the assistance of the Fulbright Science and Technology Award. Device fabrications were carried out at MTL. The work was supported by Singapore’s National Research Foundation through the Singapore-MIT Alliance for Research and Technology (SMART) and by SMART, MIT’s Center for Integrated Circuits and Systems and the National Institutes of Health.

via Detecting early-stage malarial infection – MIT News Office.


Nathan Myhrvold on Global Good’s progress fighting malaria with innovation: maybe not lasers but drug storage device, more

Our disease modeling software now informs eradication strategies around the world and our vaccine storage device will be commercialized next year after a recent round of successful field trials in Africa. I can’t say for certain whether the acclaimed photonic fence will ever zap mosquitoes in developing countries, but it’s turned out to be an invaluable research tool and, equally important, it’s brought a new level of attention and imagination to the fight against malaria. Likewise for our malaria diagnostics work, which hit some roadblocks but also unlocked promising new avenues to explore.

So, to the critics who say we’ll fail, I offer this: You’re absolutely right. But that’s part of being an inventor. What’s more important is that we learn, keep trying and make sure our successful inventions have a meaningful impact. At worst, we’ll get people thinking about important problems in new ways. At best, we’ll invent technology that transforms life for the people who need it most and, in the process, inspire more technology companies to work their magic for the developing world. Either way, I’d consider that a success.

via WATCH: Striking Down Malaria.. With A Laser? | Nathan Myhrvold.


Legitimate research with major hurdles: new malaria vaccine candidate

Hoffman says that he hopes to have a vaccine licensed within four years. The trial now needs to be repeated and extended in regions where malaria is rampant to test whether it provides protection against different strains of the parasite than that used in the vaccine, and to see how it performs in different age groups, including young children. The first trials will be carried out at the Ifakara Health Institute in Tanzania.

Even if the vaccine is shown to be highly effective in the field, logistical difficulties might limit its applicability. In mass vaccination campaigns, hundreds of people are vaccinated within minutes, so vaccines are usually given orally or by injection into or just under the skin. Intravenous injection is more cumbersome. “It’s very unlikely to be deployable in infants or young children,” argues Adrian Hill, a malaria researcher at the Jenner Institute in Oxford, UK.

via Zapped malaria parasite raises vaccine hopes : Nature News & Comment.


Get inspired by this MMV story about capacity building for malaria drug research in Cote d’Ivoire.

During his seven week mission, Xavier Ding worked with local staff at the Centre Suisse de Recherche Scientifique (CSRS) to set up an MMV-CSRS lab and…

via Capacity Building in Côte d’Ivoire | MMV.


Scientific American on malaria-mosquito control: no simple answer, every site needs its own selection of tools

But a decade of blanketing Africa with pyrethroids has fueled resistance to this front-line chemical weapon. Now pyrethroid-immune mosquitoes are spreading quickly throughout the continent.“At some level, to really control the mosquitoes,” Artress says, “they’re going to have to do more.”What that “more” is, however, is uncertain. Because of a lack of research, no new chemicals for killing malaria-infected mosquitoes have emerged in more than 40 years.

via Malaria Mosquitoes Gain Ground as Search for New Defenses Intensifies: Scientific American.


Kite Mosquito Patch developer tries to raise funds for their first field test in Uganda

Initial funding for the technology came to Ray’s lab from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the National Institutes of Health.  Olfactor Laboratories Inc. has funding from the National Institute of Health, agreements with the Walter Reed Army Institute for Research and the U.S. Department of Agriculture to test a range of technologies developed at the company relating to mosquito and other vector insects.  The Kite Mosquito Patch is one of a number of new products with the ‘Kite’ product family, all of which use non-toxic compounds to repel, kill or lure vector insects.

“Kite will provide a new level of protection to, for example, children in Uganda, for the elderly in Mali, and hikers in Seattle or Sarasota seeking a safer, socially responsible solution,” said Grey Frandsen, project lead and chief marketing officer at Innovation Economy Crowd (ieCrowd), a crowd-powered platform aimed at transforming innovations into solutions. Olfactor Laboratories Inc. is an ieCrowd company.

The first Kite Mosquito Patches will be tested in districts of Uganda hardest hit by malaria. In 2010 an estimated 219 million cases of malaria occurred worldwide and 660,000 people died, 91 percent in the African Region.

via UCR Today: Research Leads to Affordable Technology to Fight Mosquito-borne Diseases.