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London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine Malaria Centre

Malaria research in epidemiology

Assessment of the Infectious Reservoir of Malaria (AFIRM).

LSHTM investigators:
Teun Bousema & Chris Drakeley.
External collaborators:
Robert Sauerwein (Radboud University Nijmegen Medical Centre, the Netherlands); André Lin Ouédraogo, Sodiomon Sirima (Centre National de Recherche et de Formation sur le Paludisme, Burkina Faso); Kevin Marsh & Charles Mbogo (Kenya Medical Research Institute, Kenya); Richard Mukabana (ICIPE, Kenya); Tom Churcher (Imperial College, London, UK).
Funding body:
The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

The AFIRM project will establish a standardized framework for assessing population infectivity to mosquitoes and thus the infectious reservoir in different malaria endemic settings.

This will enable identification of target populations and optimal timings for control efforts including malaria Transmission Blocking Vaccines (MTBV). Data generated by the project will fill crucial gaps in mathematical models of malaria transmission and will allow examination of correlates between routinely collected clinical, parasitological and entomological metrics by quantifying the processes that link these metrics.

As a first step the project is improving and validating currently available assays in order to develop a quantitative measure of infectivity to mosquitoes that is suitable for large scale screening of naturally infected individuals. Molecular and serological approaches will be validated in laboratory settings and subsequently implemented in field trials that aim to determine the human infectious reservoir for malaria in settings in Burkina Faso and Kenya that are representative of the different patterns of malaria transmission in Africa. Longitudinal studies will be conducted to determine the relative importance of symptomatically and asymptomatically infected individuals in the context of natural exposure to mosquitoes.