Entomology Core

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The Entomology Core conducts operational research into the impact of malaria control interventions, Anopheles biting behavior, insecticide resistance and control of neglected tropical diseases (NTDs).

We conduct operational research into the impact of malaria control interventions, Anopheles biting behavior, insecticide resistance and control of neglected tropical diseases (NTDs).

Key Personnel of Core

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Dr. Themba Mzilahowa (Team leader)

His research interest is in understanding the biology and ecology of major mosquito vectors with special emphasis on disease interactions focusing on malaria and Lymphatic fialariasis transmission dynamics in highly endemic areas of Malawi. He is a member of the malaria vector control technical working group (TWG), a member of the technical vector control advisory group (TVCAG) and a member of the malaria advisory group of the Malawi Ministry of Health & Population (MoH)

Key Achievements

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Laboratory
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Experimental Huts
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Insectary
  1. We have established entomological monitoring sites across the country
  2. We have recruited several postdoctoral research fellows
  3. We have been central to the development of several key national malaria control strategic documents
  4. We have established the technical vector control advisory group (TVCAG) in the Ministry of Health and initiated fully funded operational research into vector-borne diseases in Malawi.
  5. We have constructed several experimental huts in Chikwawa

Core Sections

1

Entomology Lab

Our lab has capabilities in microscopy, immuno-assays, molecular assays (conventional and Real-time PCR) and various bioassays.
2

Insectary

Our insectary is a unique facility with competencies to carry out infectious membrane feeding experiments, maintain a susceptible strain of Anopheles gambiae Kisumu and manipulate wild caught Anopheles spp
3

Experimental huts

We have 3 experimental huts in Chikwawa for field evaluation of new insecticides and long-lasting insecticidal nets (LLINs).
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Activities of the Cores

  • To carry out policy relevant research 
  • To implement entomological monitoring
  • To mentor junior researchers and students
  • To participate in technical working group meetings
  • Our Core is mentoring junior researchers as part of capacity building through our Post-Doctoral Researchers.
  • The ESSENTIALS will construct 6 new experimental huts in Chikwawa which will be used to evaluate malaria vector control products.
  • Our core plays a vital role in policy engagement by participating in Malaria Vector Control Technical Working Group and the Malaria Advisory Committee
  • With support from LSTM through the PIIVeC project we implemented, a Technical Vector Control Advisory Group (TVCAG) was established in the Ministry of Health. Recently, the TVCAG developed a policy engagement strategy.
The core implements entomological monitoring to support implementation of malaria vector control interventions (LLINs and IRS) in Malawi
  1. Evidence Based Research
    1. The Core in collaboration with MLW is implementing research activities in Vwaza Game Reserve in Rumphi district to control Tsetse flies and Human African Trypanosomiasis
    2. The Core is implementing studies to map the extent of insecticide resistance to conventional and new insecticides in Anopheles vector populations across the country
    3. The Core is investigating the Anopheles behaviours that would render the core malaria vector control interventions less effective
    4. The Core is collecting data on several entomological indicators that will be used in mathematical models to predict impact of “new” or next generation nets
    5. The Core is monitoring the performance and efficacy of new or next generation LLINs, PermaNet® 3.0 (Vestergaard), Interceptor® G2 (BASF), Royal Guard® (Disease Control Technologies – DCT) under field conditions

Projects

Entomological Monitoring in Malawi

The project monitors impact of malaria control on interventions on Anopheles vector abundance, indoor residual spraying and susceptibility of Anopheles populations to insecticides used for public health. The project is implemented in 6 districts of Chikwawa, Kasungu, Salima, Nkhotakota, Nkhata Bay and Karonga


Essential Entomological Indicators for assessment of LLINs (ESSENTIALS)

This is a new project that will be implemented in Chikwawa district starting early 2021 for a period of 2 years. The project will develop robust entomological indicators that can predict the epidemiological impact of “new” or next generation long-lasting insecticidal nets (LLINs)

The Partnerships for Improved Impact of Vector Control (PIIVeC)

The project is aimed at improving control of vector-borne diseases (VBDs) through building capacity of early career researchers to carry out independent research, research institutions to provide conducive research environment and improve policy engagement

Characterisation of vector competence of Anopheles vector populations in Malawi

This is a new project that is aimed at understanding the contributions of two major malaria vectors, Anopheles funestus and An. arabiensis to transmission of malaria parasites in Malawi.
Resistance to damage of different long-lasting insecticidal candidate nets under local conditions

The RD Scores study is implemented in Balaka and Machinga districts. Seven different LLIN types are being evaluated under field conditions for their physical integrity over a period of 24 months

The East-South Africa Anopheles funestus Consortium: Building the capacity for An. funestus entomological surveillance, insecticide resistance and genomic diversity studies in Malawi, Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania

The project is aimed at investigating changes in the resistance markers within Anopheles funestus populations across the four project countries before and after the roll out of malaria control interventions including IRS and LLINs