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UK Med School Gets $1.7M for Malaria-related Dx

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – The Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine has won a £1.1 million ($1.7 million) grant from the US National Institutes of Health to lead a collaboration to develop a DNA-based screening test for insecticide resistance in malaria-carrying mosquitoes.

LSTM will use the funds over five years in a project with collaborators from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Ghana's Biotechnology and Nuclear Agricultural Research Institute, and Uganda's National Livestock Resources Research Institute to identify genes that make the mosquitoes resistant to a range of insecticides.

This genetic data will be used to develop a point-of-care kit for resistance to insecticides that are used to treat bednets and for residual indoor spraying, which are two common techniques to combat malaria in sub-Saharan Africa.

The DNA-based kit also will be designed, tested, and rolled out for use in the region where malaria and filariasis, a disabling and disfiguring condition also spread by mosquitoes, is endemic, 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," LSTM Project Leader and Senior Lecturer in Vector Biology Martin Donnelly said in a statement.

"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 program staff to take action to reduce the build up of resistance," Donnelly added.

The kits will be rolled out through a collaboration with the World Health Organization and the US President's Malaria Initiative.

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