Targeting malaria transmission: a transdisciplinary approach

  • Portugaliza, Harvie, (PhD Student)
  • Rosanas-Urgell, Anna (Promotor)
  • Cortés Closas, Alfred (Promotor)
  • Pell, Christopher (Promotor)

Project Details


Calls for renewed efforts to eradicate malaria have received substantial financial support from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and other non-government institutions. Malaria eradication is the long-term goal of liberating the world from the burden of malaria through short-term elimination of disease and transmission in specific regions. To achieve malaria elimination, new intervention strategies are needed [1]. The core aspect of any elimination strategy always involves antimalarial drug administration. Ideally, drug treatments intended for elimination need not only to cure the disease but also stop the transmission. Transmission is mediated by the sexual form termed gametocyte, which is insensitive to most antimalarial drugs. At each cycle of growth, a small subset of the parasite activates the gene pfap2-g and converts into gametocyte [2, 3]. The discovery of pfap2-g opens the opportunity to dissect the mechanism behind the initial step of transmission (i.e., sexual commitment) and describe whether external factors (e.g., drugs) trigger sexual commitment. Currently, artemisinin-based combination therapy (ACT) serves as the best option in treating the disease and is the forefront antimalarial drug in a mass drug administration (MDA) campaign [4]. Although MDA accelerates rapid drop of malaria burden, its success is questioned in terms of ‘total elimination’ after reports of malaria residual transmission and resurgence [5]. Hence, we investigate if ACT activates malaria transmission by combining laboratory and field studies. We further include a community perception study to recommend a tailored MDA design in an area earmarked for malaria elimination. Lastly, we aim to apply a transdisciplinary approach to link findings from different disciplines and co-create recommendations out from the combined data.
Effective start/end date11/04/1916/12/20

IWETO expertise domain

  • B780-tropical-medicine