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.