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UC San Diego to lead new malaria research center in South America
Date:7/8/2010

Our purpose is to develop new understandings of determinants of transmission, disease manifestations and immune protection, especially regarding malaria due to Plasmodium vivax, with the goal of long-term control."

Professors Ferreira and Llanos Cuentas both underscored the enormous and unprecedented opportunity for new research created by the equal partnership among collaborators in Brazil, Peru and the United States.

Investigators in the Peru/Brazil ICEMR will operate from bases across the geographically and culturally diverse Amazonian basin, from agricultural settlements in the Brazilian state of Acre to villages near the city of Iquitos, Peru, deep in the heart of the rain forest to the mining region of Madre de Dios/Puerto Maldonado in Peru, where new highway projects and deforestation are creating new and problematic exposures for malaria transmission.

Planned projects will include studies of the biology and ecology of the mosquitoes that carry the malaria parasite, the biology of malaria transmission from human to mosquitoes, mechanisms underlying clinical manifestations of the disease in patients, environmental factors contributing to spread of malaria, and overall prevalence and incidence of the disease in the Amazon region.

According to Vinetz, the danger of disease spread and the risk of epidemic are as real as the many factors that contribute to the continuing emergence and re-emergence of the disease throughout the Amazon. As a result, the Peru/Brazil ICEMR will focus on key questions and issues in the region. For example:

  • What are the characteristics of the area's most prominent malaria-transmitting mosquito species? And why do they appear in previously non-infested areas following deforestation associated with agriculture and mining?

"It is critically important to correctly identify the vector species in order to assess its contribution to malaria transmission in Amazonian locali
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Contact: Scott LaFee
slafee@ucsd.edu
619-543-6163
University of California - San Diego
Source:Eurekalert  

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