Institut pasteur de Dakar
Accueil | Research and Public Health | Immunophysiopathology and Infectious Diseases | Targeting of the asymptomatic and submicroscopic reservoir of plasmodium to support malaria elimination policies in areas of low transmission (dielmo & ndiop)
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Collaboration:

    • Babacar Diouf (Immunology Unit),
    • Dr Ibrahima Dia (Medical Entomology Unit)
    • Dr Fatoumata Diene Sarr (Epidemiology Unit)

Background and rationale: The goal of eliminating malaria from endemic areas involves refocusing research and control activities against parasite infection (rather than morbidity or mortality) to reduce and then eliminate the reservoir. The "reservoir" function is multifactorial; it involves human hosts (but also non-human primates), vector mosquitoes and Plasmodium parasites. The nature and importance of parasitic maintenance mechanisms need to be better assessed: Which hosts contribute the most? By what mechanisms? How do plasmodia adapt to it? How to identify "reservoir" hosts? How to diagnose in real time and effectively treat submicroscopic parasitaemias.

In addition, a better understanding of the underlying mechanisms that promote asymptomatic submicroscopic carriage of Plasmodium before transmission and their potential contribution to febrile malaria attacks (or conversely to clinical protection) during the transmission season is necessary to guide control strategies. These mechanisms can involve both parasitic and human genetic factors, but also the immune status of the human host.

Objectives: The main objective of this project is to better understand the epidemiology of asymptomatic / submicroscopic infections (reservoirs) to better specify their role / contribution in maintaining transmission in Dielmo and Ndiop, 2 areas of weak transmission.

The specific objectives are to:

    • validate very sensitive molecular diagnostic tools for submicroscopic portages in the laboratory and in the field for rapid treatment
    • determine the prevalence of submicroscopic infections in the community (identification of residual foci of transmission "hotspots") but also in individuals "hotpops"
    • define the relationships between asymptomatic / submicroscopic carriage and the immune status of populations
    • determine the role of the parasite reservoir in maintaining transmission (i.e. prevalence and infectivity of gametocytes from asymptomatic carriers)
    • genetically characterize the strains involved