Genetic & Symbiont Strategies for Controlling Vector Borne Disease

Lead Research Organisation: University of Glasgow
Department Name: College of Medical, Veterinary &Life Sci

Abstract

Vector-borne diseases such as malaria, dengue and Zika have devastating impact in many developing countries, and in the absence of effective vaccines for most of these diseases, novel control tools are much needed. This network focuses on two highly promising approaches: genetic modification and the use of heritable endosymbionts. Both require the rearing and release of insect disease vectors with the aim of suppressing their populations or blocking the transmission of pathogens. They are highly targeted, species specific strategies, which (depending on the specific form employed) may only require one short intervention phase rather than repeated applications, thus providing major advantages over insecticides in terms of environmental impact and cost effectiveness. Some, for example Wolbachia, are already starting to be deployed in a number of countries.

This Network aims, for the first time, to draw together individuals from a broad range of scientific disciplines engaged in developing and deploying these approaches to foster knowledge exchange, methodological and technological sharing, and stimulate innovative collaborative research projects that will lay the foundation for new approaches or more effective implementation of those currently being developed. Importantly, given the potential impact of these approaches in developing countries, this Network will help to consolidate and expand the links between leading UK scientists and excellent researchers based in disease-endemic countries.

The themes to be covered by the network will be: vector-pathogen interactions; genetic modification technologies; gene drive systems; sterility and sex determination; Wolbachia and virus transmission blocking; other endosymbionts and parasite transmission blocking; vector population biology / male ecology and behaviour; population modelling; best practise for community engagement and field release trials; and impact assessment and cost-benefit analyses.

This will be a fully open network, open to new members throughout, and we will actively seek to recruit new expertise into the field to complement that of the starting group of members. The Network co-Directors, Manager and Management Board will oversee the network and evaluate applications for pump-priming research awards (up to one year duration) for novel projects from members, along with a larger number of short training and technology exchange visits between members' groups. The Network will organize and advertise three annual UK meetings, offering travel bursaries to support attendance. Three regional meetings will also be organised in SE Asia, Africa, and South America, concentrating on strategies that are field-ready and aiming to bring together scientists with policy makers.

The network will, by bringing together groups developing genetic and symbiont-based vector control systems, improve community interactions through the exchange of information, reagents, expertise and personnel (especially early stage researchers). It will create a forum to bring together UK and developing country members working on strategy implementation, allowing pooling of experience and improved linkages, and bring genetic and symbiont strategies to new researchers, policy makers and stakeholders. The network will facilitate transfer of technologies and symbiont approaches developed in mosquitoes to other disease vector systems, and bring together molecular biologists, ecologists and modellers. It will pump-prime novel project areas based on promising ideas or preliminary data, with an emphasis on rapid, light-touch review, providing an excellent platform for further longer-term funding. It will support the development of high quality grant proposals, through shared community expertise, and prioritise novelty in the research it supports.

Technical Summary

The network focuses on two highly promising new approaches for controlling vector-borne disease: genetic modification and the use of heritable endosymbionts. Both require the rearing and release of insect disease vectors with the aim of suppressing their populations or blocking the transmission of pathogens. They are highly targeted, species specific strategies, which (depending on the specific form employed) may only require one short intervention phase rather than repeated applications, thus providing major advantages over insecticides in terms of environmental impact and cost effectiveness. Some, for example Wolbachia, are already starting to be deployed in a number of countries.

This Network aims to draw together individuals from a broad range of scientific disciplines engaged in developing and deploying these approaches to foster knowledge exchange, methodological and technological sharing, and stimulate innovative collaborative research projects that provide a foundation for new approaches or would allow more effective implementation. Importantly, given the potential impact of these approaches in developing countries, this Network will help to consolidate and expand the links between leading UK scientists and excellent researchers based in disease-endemic countries.

The themes to be covered by the network will be: vector-pathogen interactions; genetic modification technologies; gene drive systems; sterility and sex determination; Wolbachia and virus transmission blocking; other endosymbionts and parasite transmission blocking; vector population biology / male ecology and behaviour; population modelling; best practise for community engagement and field release trials; and impact assessment and cost-benefit analyses.

This will be a fully open network, open to new members throughout, and we will actively seek to recruit new expertise into the field to complement that of the starting group of members.

Planned Impact

The Network will develop a foundation for the implementation of highly promising new strategies for blocking disease transmission by insect vectors, using genetic or symbiont-based control. The primary beneficiaries who stand to gain from this will be the inhabitants of countries in Africa, Southeast Asia and Central / South America that suffer from the devastating effects of parasitic vector-borne diseases such as malaria and trypanosomiasis, viral diseases such as dengue and Zika, and diseases that impact food production such as cassava mosaic virus. New vector-borne infections also continue to emerge regularly, and these strategies can also build resilience to future potential vector-borne epidemics. Affected communities will benefit from wider implementation of these strategies by improved health / reduced infant mortality. There can also be associated improvement in prospects for economic development, both through reducing major health burdens on the workforce through days lost, and allowing major improvements in agricultural output.

These strategies often do not require continuous intervention / resource investment - once the construct or symbiont is taken to a sufficient threshold population frequency it will increase further and then be maintained at very high frequency in the long term. Thus they can be a highly cost-effective interventions, without the need to continuously mobilize limited health care resources and without causing environmental damage. They have great potential to make a transformative impact on health (both human and veterinary) in tropical and sub-tropical regions where vector borne diseases have a huge impact, and have proven very difficult to control by conventional means. Rapid emergence and spread of vector insecticide resistance, coupled with insect behavioural changes to avoid coming into contact with insecticides, means that new control strategies are desperately needed for many of these diseases.

The network will support research aimed at assisting the creation of new control strategies, to extend the reach of existing symbiont and genetic strategies that are starting to be deployed, and aiding exchange of information between and among researchers, policy makers, stakeholders and communities in developing countries. Some of these approaches are already being tested in the field, particularly Wolbachia and transgenic sterile male releases. Thus there is considerable short-term benefit to be accrued in terms of disease control, by broadening the geographical range of uptake of these new approaches. Longer term benefits will come through acceleration in the development of new strategies (such as gene drive approaches and the use of new symbionts or target vectors) and support for highly promising early-stage ideas that might otherwise struggle to attract funding without preliminary data. Beside the genetic and symbiont approaches, furthering understanding of disease epidemiology and vector biology will be priority areas for the Network, of benefit to the implementation of more traditional, chemical-based control programmes.

The network will foster research on genetic & symbiont-based control tools that can lead to reduced human and animal disease burden / improvement in agriculture. Pathways to this end include the application of existing genetic & symbiont systems to new disease vector systems; raised awareness of genetic & symbiont approaches among stakeholders; improved capacity to deploy these control methods; development and assessment of novel genetic & symbiont-based approaches; enhanced tools to evaluate likely performance against existing control methods; and better understanding of potential barriers to effective implementation such as ethical, infrastructure, ecological and community.

Publications

10 25 50
 
Description Developing native strains of insect-killing Metarhizium spp. fungi to prevent malaria transmission in Burkina Faso (WT International Training Fellowship (PI: Etienne Bilgo)
Amount £246,800 (GBP)
Funding ID 218771/Z/19/Z 
Organisation Wellcome Trust 
Sector Charity/Non Profit
Country United Kingdom
Start  
 
Description Endosymbionts, microbiota, and virome: An integral approach for the generation of biological control alternatives in insect vectors of diseases and the parasites and pathogens they transmit
Amount $84,000,000 (COP)
Funding ID 47050 
Organisation National University of Colombia 
Sector Academic/University
Country Colombia
Start 05/2020 
End 07/2021
 
Description GCRF Internal small grant (PI: Joerg Albert)
Amount £99,860 (GBP)
Organisation University College London 
Sector Academic/University
Country United Kingdom
Start 01/2019 
End 07/2019
 
Description GCRF Internal small grant (PI: Marta Andres)
Amount £87,189 (GBP)
Organisation University College London 
Sector Academic/University
Country United Kingdom
Start 01/2020 
End 06/2020
 
Description Incentive Funding for Rated Researchers
Amount R 50,000 (ZAR)
Funding ID RA171006264630 
Organisation South African National Research Foundation (NRF) 
Sector Public
Country South Africa
Start 01/2019 
End 12/2019
 
Description Investigating mechanisms for disseminating the Plasmodium-inhibiting Microsporidia MB symbiont in Anopheles arabiensis (WT International Masters Fellowship)
Amount £120,000 (GBP)
Funding ID 219673/Z/19/Z 
Organisation Wellcome Trust 
Sector Charity/Non Profit
Country United Kingdom
Start 09/2020 
End 02/2023
 
Description Investigations into how Anopheles-specific flaviviruses affect arbovirus and Plasmodium transmission (WT International Masters Fellowship)
Amount £120,000 (GBP)
Funding ID 219672/Z/19/Z 
Organisation Wellcome Trust 
Sector Charity/Non Profit
Country United Kingdom
Start 09/2020 
End 02/2023
 
Description Preventing malaria transmission with entomopathogenic and parasite transmission blocking fungi Metarhizium pingshaense (Postdoctoral Project Training)
Amount £32,975 (GBP)
Organisation Medical Research Council (MRC) 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start  
 
Description ANTI-VeC Pump-Priming Project: A Novel Malaria Transmission Blocking Strategy: Microsporidian Symbionts of Anopheles Mosquitoes (PI: Jeremy Herren) 
Organisation International Centre of Insect Physiology and Ecology (ICIPE)
Country Kenya 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Collaboration to study Anopheles - microsporidia MB symbiosis and to determine how it can be usefully disseminated into mosquito populations to decrease their capacity to transmit malaria. The approach involves an in-depth characterization of microsporidia MB - host interactions on several levels. Investigating microsporidia MB transmission dynamics will allow for determining the potential strategies that could be used to spread this symbiont through anopheline populations. The relationship between transmission routes and the malaria transmission blocking phenotype will be examined.
Collaborator Contribution As above - collaboration to study Anopheles - microsporidia MB symbiosis and to determine how it can be usefully disseminated into mosquito populations to decrease their capacity to transmit malaria. The approach involves an in-depth characterization of microsporidia MB - host interactions on several levels. Investigating microsporidia MB transmission dynamics will allow for determining the potential strategies that could be used to spread this symbiont through anopheline populations. The relationship between transmission routes and the malaria transmission blocking phenotype will be examined.
Impact See publications, further funding and engagement activities assigned to Jeremy Herren, Enock Mararo and Lilian Mbaisi, International Centre of Insect Physiology and Ecology.
Start Year 2019
 
Description ANTI-VeC Pump-Priming Project: A Novel Malaria Transmission Blocking Strategy: Microsporidian Symbionts of Anopheles Mosquitoes (PI: Jeremy Herren) 
Organisation The Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Charity/Non Profit 
PI Contribution Collaboration to study Anopheles - microsporidia MB symbiosis and to determine how it can be usefully disseminated into mosquito populations to decrease their capacity to transmit malaria. The approach involves an in-depth characterization of microsporidia MB - host interactions on several levels. Investigating microsporidia MB transmission dynamics will allow for determining the potential strategies that could be used to spread this symbiont through anopheline populations. The relationship between transmission routes and the malaria transmission blocking phenotype will be examined.
Collaborator Contribution As above - collaboration to study Anopheles - microsporidia MB symbiosis and to determine how it can be usefully disseminated into mosquito populations to decrease their capacity to transmit malaria. The approach involves an in-depth characterization of microsporidia MB - host interactions on several levels. Investigating microsporidia MB transmission dynamics will allow for determining the potential strategies that could be used to spread this symbiont through anopheline populations. The relationship between transmission routes and the malaria transmission blocking phenotype will be examined.
Impact See publications, further funding and engagement activities assigned to Jeremy Herren, Enock Mararo and Lilian Mbaisi, International Centre of Insect Physiology and Ecology.
Start Year 2019
 
Description ANTI-VeC Pump-Priming Project: A Novel Malaria Transmission Blocking Strategy: Microsporidian Symbionts of Anopheles Mosquitoes (PI: Jeremy Herren) 
Organisation University of Glasgow
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Collaboration to study Anopheles - microsporidia MB symbiosis and to determine how it can be usefully disseminated into mosquito populations to decrease their capacity to transmit malaria. The approach involves an in-depth characterization of microsporidia MB - host interactions on several levels. Investigating microsporidia MB transmission dynamics will allow for determining the potential strategies that could be used to spread this symbiont through anopheline populations. The relationship between transmission routes and the malaria transmission blocking phenotype will be examined.
Collaborator Contribution As above - collaboration to study Anopheles - microsporidia MB symbiosis and to determine how it can be usefully disseminated into mosquito populations to decrease their capacity to transmit malaria. The approach involves an in-depth characterization of microsporidia MB - host interactions on several levels. Investigating microsporidia MB transmission dynamics will allow for determining the potential strategies that could be used to spread this symbiont through anopheline populations. The relationship between transmission routes and the malaria transmission blocking phenotype will be examined.
Impact See publications, further funding and engagement activities assigned to Jeremy Herren, Enock Mararo and Lilian Mbaisi, International Centre of Insect Physiology and Ecology.
Start Year 2019
 
Description ANTI-VeC Pump-Priming Project: A Novel Malaria Transmission Blocking Strategy: Microsporidian Symbionts of Anopheles Mosquitoes (PI: Jeremy Herren) 
Organisation University of the Witwatersrand
Country South Africa 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Collaboration to study Anopheles - microsporidia MB symbiosis and to determine how it can be usefully disseminated into mosquito populations to decrease their capacity to transmit malaria. The approach involves an in-depth characterization of microsporidia MB - host interactions on several levels. Investigating microsporidia MB transmission dynamics will allow for determining the potential strategies that could be used to spread this symbiont through anopheline populations. The relationship between transmission routes and the malaria transmission blocking phenotype will be examined.
Collaborator Contribution As above - collaboration to study Anopheles - microsporidia MB symbiosis and to determine how it can be usefully disseminated into mosquito populations to decrease their capacity to transmit malaria. The approach involves an in-depth characterization of microsporidia MB - host interactions on several levels. Investigating microsporidia MB transmission dynamics will allow for determining the potential strategies that could be used to spread this symbiont through anopheline populations. The relationship between transmission routes and the malaria transmission blocking phenotype will be examined.
Impact See publications, further funding and engagement activities assigned to Jeremy Herren, Enock Mararo and Lilian Mbaisi, International Centre of Insect Physiology and Ecology.
Start Year 2019
 
Description ANTI-VeC Pump-Priming Project: AnDAPT - Lab adaptation of Anopheles gambiae s.s. (PI: Andrea Crisanti) 
Organisation Imperial College London
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Collaboration to systematically explore the appearance and speed of lab adaptation at different biological levels in the malaria vector Anopheles gambiae s.s. collected from the field in Mali. Methodology focusses on monitoring changes in field collected Anopheles gambiae s.s. from Mali at getic, phenotypic (e.g. ecophysiology) and behavioural level before and during rearing under insectary conditions in small and large sized cages.
Collaborator Contribution See above - collaboration to systematically explore the appearance and speed of lab adaptation at different biological levels in the malaria vector Anopheles gambiae s.s. collected from the field in Mali. Methodology focusses on monitoring changes in field collected Anopheles gambiae s.s. from Mali at getic, phenotypic (e.g. ecophysiology) and behavioural level before and during rearing under insectary conditions in small and large sized cages.
Impact No outputs to date.
Start Year 2019
 
Description ANTI-VeC Pump-Priming Project: AnDAPT - Lab adaptation of Anopheles gambiae s.s. (PI: Andrea Crisanti) 
Organisation Polo d'Innovazione di Genomica, Genetica e Biologia
Country Italy 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Collaboration to systematically explore the appearance and speed of lab adaptation at different biological levels in the malaria vector Anopheles gambiae s.s. collected from the field in Mali. Methodology focusses on monitoring changes in field collected Anopheles gambiae s.s. from Mali at getic, phenotypic (e.g. ecophysiology) and behavioural level before and during rearing under insectary conditions in small and large sized cages.
Collaborator Contribution See above - collaboration to systematically explore the appearance and speed of lab adaptation at different biological levels in the malaria vector Anopheles gambiae s.s. collected from the field in Mali. Methodology focusses on monitoring changes in field collected Anopheles gambiae s.s. from Mali at getic, phenotypic (e.g. ecophysiology) and behavioural level before and during rearing under insectary conditions in small and large sized cages.
Impact No outputs to date.
Start Year 2019
 
Description ANTI-VeC Pump-Priming Project: AnDAPT - Lab adaptation of Anopheles gambiae s.s. (PI: Andrea Crisanti) 
Organisation University of Science, Technology and Technology of Bamako
Country Mali 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Collaboration to systematically explore the appearance and speed of lab adaptation at different biological levels in the malaria vector Anopheles gambiae s.s. collected from the field in Mali. Methodology focusses on monitoring changes in field collected Anopheles gambiae s.s. from Mali at getic, phenotypic (e.g. ecophysiology) and behavioural level before and during rearing under insectary conditions in small and large sized cages.
Collaborator Contribution See above - collaboration to systematically explore the appearance and speed of lab adaptation at different biological levels in the malaria vector Anopheles gambiae s.s. collected from the field in Mali. Methodology focusses on monitoring changes in field collected Anopheles gambiae s.s. from Mali at getic, phenotypic (e.g. ecophysiology) and behavioural level before and during rearing under insectary conditions in small and large sized cages.
Impact No outputs to date.
Start Year 2019
 
Description ANTI-VeC Pump-Priming Project: Determing heritable microbe incidence, prevalence and impact in sandfly vector species (PI: Greg Hurst) 
Organisation International Centre of Insect Physiology and Ecology (ICIPE)
Country Kenya 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Collaboration to examine symbiotic interactions and sandflies, and their potential to modify vector competence for Leishmania transmission. Study to i) establish the diversity of endosymbionts in sandfly vectors in Colombia and Kenya and ii) evaluate the impact they have on the vector competence of their insect hosts. It will concentrate on two microbes: Wolbachia and Rickettsia. The team will develop a wider understanding of the symbionts of vectors, their potential biological effects and their potential utility in control of vectro borne infections that impact the health and wellbeing of people in LMICs.
Collaborator Contribution As above - collaboration to examine symbiotic interactions and sandflies, and their potential to modify vector competence for Leishmania transmission. Study to i) establish the diversity of endosymbionts in sandfly vectors in Colombia and Kenya and ii) evaluate the impact they have on the vector competence of their insect hosts. It will concentrate on two microbes: Wolbachia and Rickettsia. The team will develop a wider understanding of the symbionts of vectors, their potential biological effects and their potential utility in control of vectro borne infections that impact the health and wellbeing of people in LMICs.
Impact See further funding assigned to Universidad Nacional de Colombia.
Start Year 2019
 
Description ANTI-VeC Pump-Priming Project: Determing heritable microbe incidence, prevalence and impact in sandfly vector species (PI: Greg Hurst) 
Organisation National University of Colombia
Country Colombia 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Collaboration to examine symbiotic interactions and sandflies, and their potential to modify vector competence for Leishmania transmission. Study to i) establish the diversity of endosymbionts in sandfly vectors in Colombia and Kenya and ii) evaluate the impact they have on the vector competence of their insect hosts. It will concentrate on two microbes: Wolbachia and Rickettsia. The team will develop a wider understanding of the symbionts of vectors, their potential biological effects and their potential utility in control of vectro borne infections that impact the health and wellbeing of people in LMICs.
Collaborator Contribution As above - collaboration to examine symbiotic interactions and sandflies, and their potential to modify vector competence for Leishmania transmission. Study to i) establish the diversity of endosymbionts in sandfly vectors in Colombia and Kenya and ii) evaluate the impact they have on the vector competence of their insect hosts. It will concentrate on two microbes: Wolbachia and Rickettsia. The team will develop a wider understanding of the symbionts of vectors, their potential biological effects and their potential utility in control of vectro borne infections that impact the health and wellbeing of people in LMICs.
Impact See further funding assigned to Universidad Nacional de Colombia.
Start Year 2019
 
Description ANTI-VeC Pump-Priming Project: Determing heritable microbe incidence, prevalence and impact in sandfly vector species (PI: Greg Hurst) 
Organisation University of Liverpool
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Collaboration to examine symbiotic interactions and sandflies, and their potential to modify vector competence for Leishmania transmission. Study to i) establish the diversity of endosymbionts in sandfly vectors in Colombia and Kenya and ii) evaluate the impact they have on the vector competence of their insect hosts. It will concentrate on two microbes: Wolbachia and Rickettsia. The team will develop a wider understanding of the symbionts of vectors, their potential biological effects and their potential utility in control of vectro borne infections that impact the health and wellbeing of people in LMICs.
Collaborator Contribution As above - collaboration to examine symbiotic interactions and sandflies, and their potential to modify vector competence for Leishmania transmission. Study to i) establish the diversity of endosymbionts in sandfly vectors in Colombia and Kenya and ii) evaluate the impact they have on the vector competence of their insect hosts. It will concentrate on two microbes: Wolbachia and Rickettsia. The team will develop a wider understanding of the symbionts of vectors, their potential biological effects and their potential utility in control of vectro borne infections that impact the health and wellbeing of people in LMICs.
Impact See further funding assigned to Universidad Nacional de Colombia.
Start Year 2019
 
Description ANTI-VeC Pump-Priming Project: Effects of co-infection of Wolbachia and the entomopathogenic fungus Metarhizium pingshaense in Aedes aegypti (PI: Abdoulaye Diabate) 
Organisation Institute of Research in Health Sciences
Country Burkina Faso 
Sector Public 
PI Contribution Collaboration to investigate the possibility that Wolbachia confer protection against Metarhizium pathogenic fungi in Ae. aegypti, and thus assess whether fungi might be used to spread this strain of Wolbachia through populations. The team will also introduce Wolbachia into a local genetic background by backcrossing, and examine the effects on the most important parameters with respect to its potential future use for dengue control in West Africa.
Collaborator Contribution As above - collaboration to investigate the possibility that Wolbachia confer protection against Metarhizium pathogenic fungi in Ae. aegypti, and thus assess whether fungi might be used to spread this strain of Wolbachia through populations. The team will also introduce Wolbachia into a local genetic background by backcrossing, and examine the effects on the most important parameters with respect to its potential future use for dengue control in West Africa.
Impact See further funding, engagement activities and awards and recognition assigned to Etienne Bilgo and Abdoulaye Diabate, Institut de Recherche en Sciences de la Sante.
Start Year 2019
 
Description ANTI-VeC Pump-Priming Project: Effects of co-infection of Wolbachia and the entomopathogenic fungus Metarhizium pingshaense in Aedes aegypti (PI: Abdoulaye Diabate) 
Organisation University of Glasgow
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Collaboration to investigate the possibility that Wolbachia confer protection against Metarhizium pathogenic fungi in Ae. aegypti, and thus assess whether fungi might be used to spread this strain of Wolbachia through populations. The team will also introduce Wolbachia into a local genetic background by backcrossing, and examine the effects on the most important parameters with respect to its potential future use for dengue control in West Africa.
Collaborator Contribution As above - collaboration to investigate the possibility that Wolbachia confer protection against Metarhizium pathogenic fungi in Ae. aegypti, and thus assess whether fungi might be used to spread this strain of Wolbachia through populations. The team will also introduce Wolbachia into a local genetic background by backcrossing, and examine the effects on the most important parameters with respect to its potential future use for dengue control in West Africa.
Impact See further funding, engagement activities and awards and recognition assigned to Etienne Bilgo and Abdoulaye Diabate, Institut de Recherche en Sciences de la Sante.
Start Year 2019
 
Description ANTI-VeC Pump-Priming Project: Effects of co-infection of Wolbachia and the entomopathogenic fungus Metarhizium pingshaense in Aedes aegypti (PI: Abdoulaye Diabate) 
Organisation University of Maryland
Country United States 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Collaboration to investigate the possibility that Wolbachia confer protection against Metarhizium pathogenic fungi in Ae. aegypti, and thus assess whether fungi might be used to spread this strain of Wolbachia through populations. The team will also introduce Wolbachia into a local genetic background by backcrossing, and examine the effects on the most important parameters with respect to its potential future use for dengue control in West Africa.
Collaborator Contribution As above - collaboration to investigate the possibility that Wolbachia confer protection against Metarhizium pathogenic fungi in Ae. aegypti, and thus assess whether fungi might be used to spread this strain of Wolbachia through populations. The team will also introduce Wolbachia into a local genetic background by backcrossing, and examine the effects on the most important parameters with respect to its potential future use for dengue control in West Africa.
Impact See further funding, engagement activities and awards and recognition assigned to Etienne Bilgo and Abdoulaye Diabate, Institut de Recherche en Sciences de la Sante.
Start Year 2019
 
Description ANTI-VeC Pump-Priming Project: Functional genetics tools for Anopheles funestus: opening the door to genetic control and to an understanding of its vector competence (FunFuncGen) (PI: Tony Nolan) 
Organisation Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Collaboration to establish form wild-caught mosquitoes new laboratory colonies of A. funestus, providing varied genetic populations as a resource for the scientific community, using genome editing tools such as CRISPR, which can function like a precise pair of molecular scissors to cut almost any mosquito DNA sequence of choice to introduce desired sequence changes. The work will open the way for genetic control tools such as gene drive that looks to introduce traits that affect a population's ability to transmit parasites, yet ensures these traits show preferential inheritance so that a population can be rapidly transformed.
Collaborator Contribution As above - collaboration to establish form wild-caught mosquitoes new laboratory colonies of A. funestus, providing varied genetic populations as a resource for the scientific community, using genome editing tools such as CRISPR, which can function like a precise pair of molecular scissors to cut almost any mosquito DNA sequence of choice to introduce desired sequence changes. The work will open the way for genetic control tools such as gene drive that looks to introduce traits that affect a population's ability to transmit parasites, yet ensures these traits show preferential inheritance so that a population can be rapidly transformed.
Impact No outputs to date.
Start Year 2019
 
Description ANTI-VeC Pump-Priming Project: In the eye of the swarm: Mapping the acoustic landscape of mosquito disease vectors (PI: Joerg Albert) 
Organisation Ifakara Health Institute
Country Tanzania, United Republic of 
Sector Charity/Non Profit 
PI Contribution Collaboration to explore the acoustic landscape of, and acoustic behaviours within, the mosquito swarm. In the field the team will map the swarm's sound emissions using custom designed microphone/playback arrays that can be introduced to swarms of Anopheles gambiae. In the lab the team will test the auditory (or behavioural) responses of individuals (for groups) of males and females to the recorded sound stimuli (creating 'virtual swarm copies' in the lab). These approach will directly inform novel vector control methods (traps and mating disruption and contribute to ongoing efforts by providing novel assessments of reproductive (acoustic) fitness of genetic modified mosquitoes before their mass-release in the field.
Collaborator Contribution As above - collaboration to explore the acoustic landscape of, and acoustic behaviours within, the mosquito swarm. In the field the team will map the swarm's sound emissions using custom designed microphone/playback arrays that can be introduced to swarms of Anopheles gambiae. In the lab the team will test the auditory (or behavioural) responses of individuals (for groups) of males and females to the recorded sound stimuli (creating 'virtual swarm copies' in the lab). These approach will directly inform novel vector control methods (traps and mating disruption and contribute to ongoing efforts by providing novel assessments of reproductive (acoustic) fitness of genetic modified mosquitoes before their mass-release in the field.
Impact See publications assigned to Matthew Su, Marcos Georgiades, Marta Andres and Sarah Moore, Imperial College London and Ifakara Health Institute. See further funding assigned to Marta Andres and Joerg Albert, Imperial College London. See engagement activities assigned to Marta Andres and Joerg Albert, Imperial College London.
Start Year 2018
 
Description ANTI-VeC Pump-Priming Project: In the eye of the swarm: Mapping the acoustic landscape of mosquito disease vectors (PI: Joerg Albert) 
Organisation Imperial College London
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Collaboration to explore the acoustic landscape of, and acoustic behaviours within, the mosquito swarm. In the field the team will map the swarm's sound emissions using custom designed microphone/playback arrays that can be introduced to swarms of Anopheles gambiae. In the lab the team will test the auditory (or behavioural) responses of individuals (for groups) of males and females to the recorded sound stimuli (creating 'virtual swarm copies' in the lab). These approach will directly inform novel vector control methods (traps and mating disruption and contribute to ongoing efforts by providing novel assessments of reproductive (acoustic) fitness of genetic modified mosquitoes before their mass-release in the field.
Collaborator Contribution As above - collaboration to explore the acoustic landscape of, and acoustic behaviours within, the mosquito swarm. In the field the team will map the swarm's sound emissions using custom designed microphone/playback arrays that can be introduced to swarms of Anopheles gambiae. In the lab the team will test the auditory (or behavioural) responses of individuals (for groups) of males and females to the recorded sound stimuli (creating 'virtual swarm copies' in the lab). These approach will directly inform novel vector control methods (traps and mating disruption and contribute to ongoing efforts by providing novel assessments of reproductive (acoustic) fitness of genetic modified mosquitoes before their mass-release in the field.
Impact See publications assigned to Matthew Su, Marcos Georgiades, Marta Andres and Sarah Moore, Imperial College London and Ifakara Health Institute. See further funding assigned to Marta Andres and Joerg Albert, Imperial College London. See engagement activities assigned to Marta Andres and Joerg Albert, Imperial College London.
Start Year 2018
 
Description ANTI-VeC Pump-Priming Project: In the eye of the swarm: Mapping the acoustic landscape of mosquito disease vectors (PI: Joerg Albert) 
Organisation University College London
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Collaboration to explore the acoustic landscape of, and acoustic behaviours within, the mosquito swarm. In the field the team will map the swarm's sound emissions using custom designed microphone/playback arrays that can be introduced to swarms of Anopheles gambiae. In the lab the team will test the auditory (or behavioural) responses of individuals (for groups) of males and females to the recorded sound stimuli (creating 'virtual swarm copies' in the lab). These approach will directly inform novel vector control methods (traps and mating disruption and contribute to ongoing efforts by providing novel assessments of reproductive (acoustic) fitness of genetic modified mosquitoes before their mass-release in the field.
Collaborator Contribution As above - collaboration to explore the acoustic landscape of, and acoustic behaviours within, the mosquito swarm. In the field the team will map the swarm's sound emissions using custom designed microphone/playback arrays that can be introduced to swarms of Anopheles gambiae. In the lab the team will test the auditory (or behavioural) responses of individuals (for groups) of males and females to the recorded sound stimuli (creating 'virtual swarm copies' in the lab). These approach will directly inform novel vector control methods (traps and mating disruption and contribute to ongoing efforts by providing novel assessments of reproductive (acoustic) fitness of genetic modified mosquitoes before their mass-release in the field.
Impact See publications assigned to Matthew Su, Marcos Georgiades, Marta Andres and Sarah Moore, Imperial College London and Ifakara Health Institute. See further funding assigned to Marta Andres and Joerg Albert, Imperial College London. See engagement activities assigned to Marta Andres and Joerg Albert, Imperial College London.
Start Year 2018
 
Description ANTI-VeC Pump-Priming Project: Into the Wild: New Models for Community Engagement with Mosquito Releases (PI: Ann Kelly) 
Organisation Ifakara Health Institute
Country Tanzania, United Republic of 
Sector Charity/Non Profit 
PI Contribution Collaboration between social scientists, public health practitioners, entomologists and vector biologists to formulate and test a set of principles for effective community engagement with novel vector control interventions, specifically those that involve the release of laboratory-altered insects. The project combines research into past experiences of insect releases, international guideline development via the Pan Africa Mosquito Control Association and proof-of-principle stakeholder engagement process in Tanzania. The project seeks to develop new models for robust community engagement with novel vector control interventions, grounded in systematic social scientific research and extensive input from stakeholders.
Collaborator Contribution As above - collaboration between social scientists, public health practitioners, entomologists and vector biologists to formulate and test a set of principles for effective community engagement with novel vector control interventions, specifically those that involve the release of laboratory-altered insects. The project combines research into past experiences of insect releases, international guideline development via the Pan Africa Mosquito Control Association and proof-of-principle stakeholder engagement process in Tanzania. The project seeks to develop new models for robust community engagement with novel vector control interventions, grounded in systematic social scientific research and extensive input from stakeholders.
Impact See engagement activities assigned to Lina Finda, Brian Tarimo, Fredros Okumu and Prosper Chaki, Ifakara Health Institute (and Pan Africa Mosquito Control Association). See publications, further funding and engagement activities assigned to Givemore Munhenga, University of the Witwatersrand.
Start Year 2019
 
Description ANTI-VeC Pump-Priming Project: Into the Wild: New Models for Community Engagement with Mosquito Releases (PI: Ann Kelly) 
Organisation King's College London
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Collaboration between social scientists, public health practitioners, entomologists and vector biologists to formulate and test a set of principles for effective community engagement with novel vector control interventions, specifically those that involve the release of laboratory-altered insects. The project combines research into past experiences of insect releases, international guideline development via the Pan Africa Mosquito Control Association and proof-of-principle stakeholder engagement process in Tanzania. The project seeks to develop new models for robust community engagement with novel vector control interventions, grounded in systematic social scientific research and extensive input from stakeholders.
Collaborator Contribution As above - collaboration between social scientists, public health practitioners, entomologists and vector biologists to formulate and test a set of principles for effective community engagement with novel vector control interventions, specifically those that involve the release of laboratory-altered insects. The project combines research into past experiences of insect releases, international guideline development via the Pan Africa Mosquito Control Association and proof-of-principle stakeholder engagement process in Tanzania. The project seeks to develop new models for robust community engagement with novel vector control interventions, grounded in systematic social scientific research and extensive input from stakeholders.
Impact See engagement activities assigned to Lina Finda, Brian Tarimo, Fredros Okumu and Prosper Chaki, Ifakara Health Institute (and Pan Africa Mosquito Control Association). See publications, further funding and engagement activities assigned to Givemore Munhenga, University of the Witwatersrand.
Start Year 2019
 
Description ANTI-VeC Pump-Priming Project: Into the Wild: New Models for Community Engagement with Mosquito Releases (PI: Ann Kelly) 
Organisation Pan Africa Mosquito Control Association
Country Kenya 
Sector Learned Society 
PI Contribution Collaboration between social scientists, public health practitioners, entomologists and vector biologists to formulate and test a set of principles for effective community engagement with novel vector control interventions, specifically those that involve the release of laboratory-altered insects. The project combines research into past experiences of insect releases, international guideline development via the Pan Africa Mosquito Control Association and proof-of-principle stakeholder engagement process in Tanzania. The project seeks to develop new models for robust community engagement with novel vector control interventions, grounded in systematic social scientific research and extensive input from stakeholders.
Collaborator Contribution As above - collaboration between social scientists, public health practitioners, entomologists and vector biologists to formulate and test a set of principles for effective community engagement with novel vector control interventions, specifically those that involve the release of laboratory-altered insects. The project combines research into past experiences of insect releases, international guideline development via the Pan Africa Mosquito Control Association and proof-of-principle stakeholder engagement process in Tanzania. The project seeks to develop new models for robust community engagement with novel vector control interventions, grounded in systematic social scientific research and extensive input from stakeholders.
Impact See engagement activities assigned to Lina Finda, Brian Tarimo, Fredros Okumu and Prosper Chaki, Ifakara Health Institute (and Pan Africa Mosquito Control Association). See publications, further funding and engagement activities assigned to Givemore Munhenga, University of the Witwatersrand.
Start Year 2019
 
Description ANTI-VeC Pump-Priming Project: Into the Wild: New Models for Community Engagement with Mosquito Releases (PI: Ann Kelly) 
Organisation University of Oxford
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Collaboration between social scientists, public health practitioners, entomologists and vector biologists to formulate and test a set of principles for effective community engagement with novel vector control interventions, specifically those that involve the release of laboratory-altered insects. The project combines research into past experiences of insect releases, international guideline development via the Pan Africa Mosquito Control Association and proof-of-principle stakeholder engagement process in Tanzania. The project seeks to develop new models for robust community engagement with novel vector control interventions, grounded in systematic social scientific research and extensive input from stakeholders.
Collaborator Contribution As above - collaboration between social scientists, public health practitioners, entomologists and vector biologists to formulate and test a set of principles for effective community engagement with novel vector control interventions, specifically those that involve the release of laboratory-altered insects. The project combines research into past experiences of insect releases, international guideline development via the Pan Africa Mosquito Control Association and proof-of-principle stakeholder engagement process in Tanzania. The project seeks to develop new models for robust community engagement with novel vector control interventions, grounded in systematic social scientific research and extensive input from stakeholders.
Impact See engagement activities assigned to Lina Finda, Brian Tarimo, Fredros Okumu and Prosper Chaki, Ifakara Health Institute (and Pan Africa Mosquito Control Association). See publications, further funding and engagement activities assigned to Givemore Munhenga, University of the Witwatersrand.
Start Year 2019
 
Description ANTI-VeC Pump-Priming Project: Into the Wild: New Models for Community Engagement with Mosquito Releases (PI: Ann Kelly) 
Organisation University of the Witwatersrand
Country South Africa 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Collaboration between social scientists, public health practitioners, entomologists and vector biologists to formulate and test a set of principles for effective community engagement with novel vector control interventions, specifically those that involve the release of laboratory-altered insects. The project combines research into past experiences of insect releases, international guideline development via the Pan Africa Mosquito Control Association and proof-of-principle stakeholder engagement process in Tanzania. The project seeks to develop new models for robust community engagement with novel vector control interventions, grounded in systematic social scientific research and extensive input from stakeholders.
Collaborator Contribution As above - collaboration between social scientists, public health practitioners, entomologists and vector biologists to formulate and test a set of principles for effective community engagement with novel vector control interventions, specifically those that involve the release of laboratory-altered insects. The project combines research into past experiences of insect releases, international guideline development via the Pan Africa Mosquito Control Association and proof-of-principle stakeholder engagement process in Tanzania. The project seeks to develop new models for robust community engagement with novel vector control interventions, grounded in systematic social scientific research and extensive input from stakeholders.
Impact See engagement activities assigned to Lina Finda, Brian Tarimo, Fredros Okumu and Prosper Chaki, Ifakara Health Institute (and Pan Africa Mosquito Control Association). See publications, further funding and engagement activities assigned to Givemore Munhenga, University of the Witwatersrand.
Start Year 2019
 
Description ANTI-VeC Pump-Priming Project: Should the tsetse symbiont S. glossinidius, be engineered to control African trypanosomiasis? (PI: Alvaro Acosta-Serrano) 
Organisation International Centre of Insect Physiology and Ecology (ICIPE)
Country Kenya 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Collaboration to identify how Sodalis manipulate the fly into accommodating a parasite infection. Study to identify what molecules Sodalis release, to understand why these molecules influence fly biology and to examine how this vector-symbiont-parasite relationship impacts disease prevalence in wild tsetse populations in Kenya. Using this information, the team will incorporate symbiont prevalence into current epidemiological models, thereby improving accuracy for identifying potential disease hot spots, which will help vector control teams prioritise interventions.
Collaborator Contribution As above - collaboration to identify how Sodalis manipulate the fly into accommodating a parasite infection. Study to identify what molecules Sodalis release, to understand why these molecules influence fly biology and to examine how this vector-symbiont-parasite relationship impacts disease prevalence in wild tsetse populations in Kenya. Using this information, the team will incorporate symbiont prevalence into current epidemiological models, thereby improving accuracy for identifying potential disease hot spots, which will help vector control teams prioritise interventions.
Impact See engagement activities assigned to Lee Haines, Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine.
Start Year 2019
 
Description ANTI-VeC Pump-Priming Project: Should the tsetse symbiont S. glossinidius, be engineered to control African trypanosomiasis? (PI: Alvaro Acosta-Serrano) 
Organisation Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Collaboration to identify how Sodalis manipulate the fly into accommodating a parasite infection. Study to identify what molecules Sodalis release, to understand why these molecules influence fly biology and to examine how this vector-symbiont-parasite relationship impacts disease prevalence in wild tsetse populations in Kenya. Using this information, the team will incorporate symbiont prevalence into current epidemiological models, thereby improving accuracy for identifying potential disease hot spots, which will help vector control teams prioritise interventions.
Collaborator Contribution As above - collaboration to identify how Sodalis manipulate the fly into accommodating a parasite infection. Study to identify what molecules Sodalis release, to understand why these molecules influence fly biology and to examine how this vector-symbiont-parasite relationship impacts disease prevalence in wild tsetse populations in Kenya. Using this information, the team will incorporate symbiont prevalence into current epidemiological models, thereby improving accuracy for identifying potential disease hot spots, which will help vector control teams prioritise interventions.
Impact See engagement activities assigned to Lee Haines, Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine.
Start Year 2019
 
Description ANTI-VeC Pump-Priming Project: Targeted disruption of the steriod hormone inactivation pathway in Anopheline mosquitoes for malaria control (PI: Mark Paine) 
Organisation Harvard University
Department Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health
Country United States 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Collaboration to validate new targets for genetic and chemical control of malaria-transmitting mosquitoes based on the ecdysone (20E) reproduction. To characterize the role of An. funestus CYP18A1, opening the field to define alternative pathway targets in An. gambiae, and build a multidisciplinary partnership to develop new genetic and chemical methods of vector control.
Collaborator Contribution As above - collaboration to validate new targets for genetic and chemical control of malaria-transmitting mosquitoes based on the ecdysone (20E) reproduction. To characterize the role of An. funestus CYP18A1, opening the field to define alternative pathway targets in An. gambiae, and build a multidisciplinary partnership to develop new genetic and chemical methods of vector control.
Impact See engagement activities and awards and recognition assigned to Gareth Lycett, Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine. See further funding assigned to Oswald Dijhinto assigned to University of Abomey Calavi.
Start Year 2019
 
Description ANTI-VeC Pump-Priming Project: Targeted disruption of the steriod hormone inactivation pathway in Anopheline mosquitoes for malaria control (PI: Mark Paine) 
Organisation Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Collaboration to validate new targets for genetic and chemical control of malaria-transmitting mosquitoes based on the ecdysone (20E) reproduction. To characterize the role of An. funestus CYP18A1, opening the field to define alternative pathway targets in An. gambiae, and build a multidisciplinary partnership to develop new genetic and chemical methods of vector control.
Collaborator Contribution As above - collaboration to validate new targets for genetic and chemical control of malaria-transmitting mosquitoes based on the ecdysone (20E) reproduction. To characterize the role of An. funestus CYP18A1, opening the field to define alternative pathway targets in An. gambiae, and build a multidisciplinary partnership to develop new genetic and chemical methods of vector control.
Impact See engagement activities and awards and recognition assigned to Gareth Lycett, Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine. See further funding assigned to Oswald Dijhinto assigned to University of Abomey Calavi.
Start Year 2019
 
Description ANTI-VeC Pump-Priming Project: Targeted disruption of the steriod hormone inactivation pathway in Anopheline mosquitoes for malaria control (PI: Mark Paine) 
Organisation University of Abomey-Calavi
Country Benin 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Collaboration to validate new targets for genetic and chemical control of malaria-transmitting mosquitoes based on the ecdysone (20E) reproduction. To characterize the role of An. funestus CYP18A1, opening the field to define alternative pathway targets in An. gambiae, and build a multidisciplinary partnership to develop new genetic and chemical methods of vector control.
Collaborator Contribution As above - collaboration to validate new targets for genetic and chemical control of malaria-transmitting mosquitoes based on the ecdysone (20E) reproduction. To characterize the role of An. funestus CYP18A1, opening the field to define alternative pathway targets in An. gambiae, and build a multidisciplinary partnership to develop new genetic and chemical methods of vector control.
Impact See engagement activities and awards and recognition assigned to Gareth Lycett, Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine. See further funding assigned to Oswald Dijhinto assigned to University of Abomey Calavi.
Start Year 2019
 
Description ANTI-VeC Pump-Priming Project: The impact of feeding method on Anopheles mosquito midgut microbiota and P. falciparum infection rates (PI: Mara Lawniczak) 
Organisation The Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Charity/Non Profit 
PI Contribution Collaboration to establish whether mosquito feeding model alters mosquito microbiota and infectivity of the parasite to mosquitoes. Work to be carried out in natural conditions by i) establishing a mobile field insectary in a high transmission setting with local parasites and local vectors, and ii) comparing microbiota of DMFA and DSF local mosquitoes using the same donors, and the infectivity of parasites of mosquitoes under these natural conditions.
Collaborator Contribution See above - collaboration to establish whether mosquito feeding model alters mosquito microbiota and infectivity of the parasite to mosquitoes. Work to be carried out in natural conditions by i) establishing a mobile field insectary in a high transmission setting with local parasites and local vectors, and ii) comparing microbiota of DMFA and DSF local mosquitoes using the same donors, and the infectivity of parasites of mosquitoes under these natural conditions.
Impact See engagement activity assigned to Abdoulaye Djimde, University of Science, Techniques and Technologies of Bamako Mali.
Start Year 2019
 
Description ANTI-VeC Pump-Priming Project: The impact of feeding method on Anopheles mosquito midgut microbiota and P. falciparum infection rates (PI: Mara Lawniczak) 
Organisation University of Science, Technology and Technology of Bamako
Country Mali 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Collaboration to establish whether mosquito feeding model alters mosquito microbiota and infectivity of the parasite to mosquitoes. Work to be carried out in natural conditions by i) establishing a mobile field insectary in a high transmission setting with local parasites and local vectors, and ii) comparing microbiota of DMFA and DSF local mosquitoes using the same donors, and the infectivity of parasites of mosquitoes under these natural conditions.
Collaborator Contribution See above - collaboration to establish whether mosquito feeding model alters mosquito microbiota and infectivity of the parasite to mosquitoes. Work to be carried out in natural conditions by i) establishing a mobile field insectary in a high transmission setting with local parasites and local vectors, and ii) comparing microbiota of DMFA and DSF local mosquitoes using the same donors, and the infectivity of parasites of mosquitoes under these natural conditions.
Impact See engagement activity assigned to Abdoulaye Djimde, University of Science, Techniques and Technologies of Bamako Mali.
Start Year 2019
 
Description ANTI-Vec Pump-Priming Project: Roles of insect-specific flaviviruses and immune priming in arbovirus transmission blocking in mosquitoes (PI: Jandouwe Villinger) 
Organisation International Centre of Insect Physiology and Ecology (ICIPE)
Country Kenya 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Collaboration to investigate how insect-specific flaviviruses (ISFVs) modulate mosquito vectorial capacity using transcriptome sequencing to characterize both vector and viral gene expression responses and identify the underlying mechanisms by which ISFVs affect the establishment of subsequent arbovirus superinfections. Experiments to be carried out will contrast vector competence and immune responses to ISFV and arbovirus infections, explore the distinct responses of arbovirus superinfection induced by protective (vs. infection enhancing) ISFVs, and determine whether active viral infection is required for protection or whether mosquito immune priming can protect against heterologous vectored flaviviruses. The study will inform the potential of ISFVs and immune priming for blocking pathogen transmission in mosquitoes.
Collaborator Contribution As above - collaboration to investigate how insect-specific flaviviruses (ISFVs) modulate mosquito vectorial capacity using transcriptome sequencing to characterize both vector and viral gene expression responses and identify the underlying mechanisms by which ISFVs affect the establishment of subsequent arbovirus superinfections. Experiments to be carried out will contrast vector competence and immune responses to ISFV and arbovirus infections, explore the distinct responses of arbovirus superinfection induced by protective (vs. infection enhancing) ISFVs, and determine whether active viral infection is required for protection or whether mosquito immune priming can protect against heterologous vectored flaviviruses. The study will inform the potential of ISFVs and immune priming for blocking pathogen transmission in mosquitoes.
Impact See publications and further funding assigned to Jandouwe Villinger, International Centre of Insect Physiology and Ecology.
Start Year 2019
 
Description ANTI-Vec Pump-Priming Project: Roles of insect-specific flaviviruses and immune priming in arbovirus transmission blocking in mosquitoes (PI: Jandouwe Villinger) 
Organisation University of Liverpool
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Collaboration to investigate how insect-specific flaviviruses (ISFVs) modulate mosquito vectorial capacity using transcriptome sequencing to characterize both vector and viral gene expression responses and identify the underlying mechanisms by which ISFVs affect the establishment of subsequent arbovirus superinfections. Experiments to be carried out will contrast vector competence and immune responses to ISFV and arbovirus infections, explore the distinct responses of arbovirus superinfection induced by protective (vs. infection enhancing) ISFVs, and determine whether active viral infection is required for protection or whether mosquito immune priming can protect against heterologous vectored flaviviruses. The study will inform the potential of ISFVs and immune priming for blocking pathogen transmission in mosquitoes.
Collaborator Contribution As above - collaboration to investigate how insect-specific flaviviruses (ISFVs) modulate mosquito vectorial capacity using transcriptome sequencing to characterize both vector and viral gene expression responses and identify the underlying mechanisms by which ISFVs affect the establishment of subsequent arbovirus superinfections. Experiments to be carried out will contrast vector competence and immune responses to ISFV and arbovirus infections, explore the distinct responses of arbovirus superinfection induced by protective (vs. infection enhancing) ISFVs, and determine whether active viral infection is required for protection or whether mosquito immune priming can protect against heterologous vectored flaviviruses. The study will inform the potential of ISFVs and immune priming for blocking pathogen transmission in mosquitoes.
Impact See publications and further funding assigned to Jandouwe Villinger, International Centre of Insect Physiology and Ecology.
Start Year 2019
 
Description ANTI-VeC Network Annual UK Meetings 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Other audiences
Results and Impact Approx 50 to 100 people attended each of the Annual UK Meetings in Glasgow (2018) and London (2019) which included presentations from leading academic researchers, industry, funding bodies (e.g. UKRI BBSRC and MRC, Wellcome Trust) and other relevant networks and consortia (e.g. the Gnatwork and Infravec2). These included sessions on symbionts, gene drive, and ANTI-VeC funded research. Connected to these were travel bursary calls to support early career researchers' attendance with awardees presenting at the poster session. These meetings allowed opportunities for networking, exploring new collaborations, acquiring knowlege and discussing future priorities.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018,2019
 
Description ANTI-VeC Network Overseas Stakeholder Meeting 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Other audiences
Results and Impact A South East Asia regional stakeholder engagement meeting was held September 2019 in Thailand with senior level officials to discuss forming a South East Asia group to initiate pilot Wolbachia releases in Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam. The outcome was positive with support from high level officials from these countries to pursue this.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
 
Description ANTI-VeC Network newsletters 
Form Of Engagement Activity A magazine, newsletter or online publication
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Other audiences
Results and Impact ANTI-VeC Network member newsletters established to promote the network and it's activities.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018,2019,2020
 
Description ANTI-VeC Network twitter 
Form Of Engagement Activity Engagement focused website, blog or social media channel
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Media (as a channel to the public)
Results and Impact ANTI-VeC Network twitter account established to promote the network and it's activities and engage with other relevant stakeholders.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017,2018,2019,2020
URL https://twitter.com/AntiVec
 
Description ANTI-VeC Network website 
Form Of Engagement Activity Engagement focused website, blog or social media channel
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Other audiences
Results and Impact ANTI-VeC Network website established to promote the network and it's activities.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017,2018,2019,2020
URL http://www.anti-vec.net
 
Description BBC News feature (26/08/2019) News at Six and throughout the day (Joerg Albert and Marta Andres, University College London) 
Form Of Engagement Activity A press release, press conference or response to a media enquiry/interview
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Media (as a channel to the public)
Results and Impact Interview plus short movies, prompting feedback from colleagues and the public (via email, phone and in person)
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
 
Description BBC Radio feature (26/08/2019) Radio 4 and BBC World (Joerg Albert, University College London) 
Form Of Engagement Activity A broadcast e.g. TV/radio/film/podcast (other than news/press)
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Media (as a channel to the public)
Results and Impact Short radio feature, prompting feedback from colleagues and the public (via email, phone and in person)
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
 
Description BBC media feature (Joerg Albert's group, University College London) 
Form Of Engagement Activity A broadcast e.g. TV/radio/film/podcast (other than news/press)
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Media (as a channel to the public)
Results and Impact Short online media feature (online), which prompted feedback from colleagues and the public (via email, phone and in person).
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
URL https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/av/science-environment-49384857/could-serenading-mosquitoes-help-stop-the...
 
Description Community Leader Meeting (Lina Finda, Fredros Okumu, Brian Tarimo and Prosper Chaki, Ifakara Health Institute) 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Other audiences
Results and Impact Meeting with community leaders to inform them of the outcomes of the first phase of the study, which was to explore opinions of the key stakeholders on alternative interventions for malaria elimination. Further narrowing down of interventions the country should focus on to achieve malaria elimination by the set timelines.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2020
 
Description Consultant for creative writer (Gareth Lycett, Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine) 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an open day or visit at my research institution
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Visit by author to labs and insectary, discussion with members of staff on environment and regulations of working in a mosquito lab and performing infectious feeding of pathogens. Advising on novel drafts to provide realism and detail to the narrative.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
URL http://www.christinepoulson.co.uk/project/an-air-that-kills/
 
Description Consultant for performance artist (Gareth Lycett, Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine) 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an open day or visit at my research institution
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Visit to produce visual and audio pieces, and for background information on mosquitoes, disease transmission and blood feeding to feature in commissioned interactive performance artwork.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2020
URL https://www.artrabbit.com/events/rebecca-lennon-liquid
 
Description Enriching curriculum for MSc students (Lee Haines, Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine) 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Other audiences
Results and Impact ROP775 is an MSc level course named "Key aspects in Molecular and Cellular Biology of Tropical Diseases and Vectors". Delivered a lecture on insect symbiosis and vector competence followed by a multi-group session that had to focus on the problem: "using your knowledge of symbionts associated with tsetse flies, how would you design a vector control strategy?". Several groups decided to target S. glossinidius for a paratransgenic control strategy. Due to the work on the grant, we could discuss the flaws in this methodology, making the students think outside the box of scientific discovery / sexy technologies and address the ethical implications and other factors that may undermine such an effort. A similar scenario was also presented as an exam question.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2020
 
Description Feedback and discussion session with expert stakeholders (Lina Finda, Fredros Okumu, Brian Tarimo and Prosper Chaki, Ifakara Health Institute) 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Other audiences
Results and Impact Feedback and discussion session with representatives of each the other three stakeholder groups, i.e. policy makers, regulators and research scientists. Findings of the first phase of the study were described to the stakeholders, and then subsequent discussions were focused on what interventions had the highest potential for implementation to help achieve malaria elimination in the country. Further narrowing down of interventions the country should focus on too achieve malaria elimination by the set timelines. Larviciding was proposed to be the most potential intervention
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2020
 
Description Filming for science based TV show (Gareth Lycett, Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine) 
Form Of Engagement Activity A press release, press conference or response to a media enquiry/interview
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Provide footage and interview on the control of mosquito vectors of disease.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2020
URL https://terrifictv.co.uk
 
Description Focus group discussions (Givemore Munhenga, University of the Witwatersrand) 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Other audiences
Results and Impact Focus group discussions with academics and community members to review a song developed to engage and educate the community about sterile Insect technique pending pilot trials. This was part of a process to develop a culturally acceptable song to engage and inform the community about a pilot sterile male releases program in Jozini KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2020
 
Description Group meeting to request assistance with composition of a drama as one of the tools to be used for engaging the community (Givemore Munhenga, University of the Witwatersrand) 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Schools
Results and Impact This was a group meeting to try and engage school to help in the development of a drama by schools in an area targeted for sterile insect mosquito releases. The drama will be showcased during malaria day as part of community engagement activities. The teachers from the schools have agreed to assist with the composition of the drama and planning to be initiated.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2020
 
Description Malaria Exploration Course, Mbita, Kenya (Enock Mararo and Lilian Mbaisi, International Centre of Insect Physiology and Ecology) 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Schools
Results and Impact 30 pupils spent 2 weeks on the icipe research campus learning about malaria research. Although the engagement activity was funded by the Wellcome trust, some staff employed under the ANTI-VeC pump priming grant (Enock Mararo and Lilian Mbaisi assisted extensively with the activities).
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
URL https://vimeo.com/363484804
 
Description Participation in the WHO Vector Control Working Group (Etienne Bilgo, Institute de Recherche en Sciences de la Sante) 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Other audiences
Results and Impact Engagement with other participants from the Network, oral presentation and discussions.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2020
 
Description Town-Hall style Meeting about insectary construction (Abdoulaye Djimde, University of Science, Techniques and Technologies of Bamako, Mali) 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Community engagement activity with a town-hall style meeting in Mali with the local Mayor, Chief of the Village, village Council, religious leaders of Faladje, women, youth , leadership of the health clinical and local doctor to discuss the purpose of the insectaries, plans and timetable for constructions, and potential risks and benefits. From that permission was obtained to build the insectaries and a joint decision was made on the location for setting up the facility.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
 
Description Training visiting PhD Student (Lee Haines, Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine) 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Study participants or study members
Results and Impact Delivered training on isolating and culturing Sodalis glossinidius to a visiting PhD student, Ms. Poppy Stevens (University of Salford). Not only was this three days of intense knowledge exchange, but it helped write detailed protocols that were subsequently shared with our colleagues at icipe to help them isolate Sodalis from field-caught and insectary reared tsetse flies. During this training, we also developed a new protocol for isolating and culturing Sodalis from larvae.  The isolates cultured will contribute to Ms. Stevens PhD thesis and own research as she will sequence the genome of each isolate and also submit samples for transcriptomic analysis.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019