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Weekly Edition - Published  4 August 2016


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Edge Hill announces partnership with Colombian University

EDGE Hill University will undertake a £149,000, 2 year research partnership, with Colombia's University of Antioquia, focused on addressing the growing world wide issue of insecticide resistance in mosquitoes. The grant for the project was awarded by the British Council on behalf of the Newton Fund, part of the UK's Official Development Assistance programme which sees the UK use its strength in research and innovation to promote the economic development and social welfare of partner countries. The study will span 8 regions of Colombia and will focus on the Aedes aegypti mosquito, the same species of mosquito implicated in the spread of Zika virus in South America.

Dr Clare Strode from Edge Hill University's Biology Department is a recognised expert in the field of insecticide resistance and said that mosquitoes are becoming increasingly resistant to insecticides due to genetic mutations.  Dr Clare Strode commented:- "Traditionally, mosquito populations have been controlled through the use of four approved classes of insecticides. However, mosquito populations are becoming increasingly genetically resistant to insecticides and once they become ineffective, there are no other insecticides to replace them with. The aim of this study is to collect mosquitoes to test their reaction to insecticides and where resistance is present, understand the genetic profile of these mutated mosquitoes. We can then use this information to make recommendations for controlling the mosquito population in the 8 at risk focus regions of the study." she said.

Dr Strode's Colombian research partner, Dr Omar Triana Chavez from the University of Antioquia is a recognised specialist in epidemiology and vector biology across South America and said that dengue is having a crippling effect on poor communities.  Dr Strode said that:- "There are approximately 100,000 cases of dengue reported across Colombia each year. With such a high morbidity and mortality rate, the disease imposes severe economic hardships on families in poor communities. With no vaccine available, we have to reduce the mosquito population by protecting people from being bitten and detect dengue cases early. Unfortunately the growing issue of insecticide resistant mosquitoes is making it more difficult to control the disease.  The agreement between Universidad de Antioquia and Edge Hill University will be an opportunity and a challenge to hopefully decrease the effects of dengue in Colombia."

The Aedes aegypti mosquito is traditionally a City dwelling insect that can breed in a mere cap full of water. It is responsible for the spread of Zika virus, dengue fever and chikungunya; none of which can be prevented or treated with a vaccine.


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