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Field and laboratory methods to study vector-borne diseases and to investigate their epidemics in a limited resources setting. Use of morphological identification, molecular identification and barcoding methods applied to mosquito vectors in Sudan
Sudan (MedSIN-Sudan) - Khartoum University, Khartoum
Department of Parasitology and Medical Entomology Institute of Endemic Diseases University of Khartoum
Dr. Muzamil Mahdi Abdel Hamid; Miss Arwa Elaagip; Mr. Ayman Ahmed
Arabic , English
Type of Research Project
- Basic science
What is the background of the project?
Vector-borne diseases are rapidly growing and expanding their geographical distribution and increasing their incident, leading to several serious epidemics annually. Although the great public health risk of Arboviruses (Arthropod-borne Viruses) such as Zika virus, Dengue fever, and Yellow fever, limited knowledge available about their epidemiology in Sudan and there is a greater gap in our knowledge about their potential vectors in the country. We are working on establishing a database about vectors of the major human and veterinary arboviral diseases particularly mosquito vectors. Mosquito species (Aedes, Culex, Mansonia, Anopheles) are among the most known vectors of many diseases, such as malaria, filariasis, yellow fever, dengue fever, Zika and chikungunya. Using the proper collection and preserving techniques in addition to the laboratory tests and processing of samples are the main keys of investigating the burden and epidemics of the vector-borne diseases and generating crucial information for decision making and strategic planning and implementing of the prevention and control measures. The collection and identification of the disease vectors is the first step towards vector incrimination. The classical morphological identification is based on the differences of characters between different species. However, the discovery of species complexes meant that genetic tools are needed to separate the sibling species. DNA barcoding is a molecular approach to species identification, which involves the use of a short DNA sequence that has much less variance within species than it does between species. Following identifying the collected samples, detecting the pathogens in samples will be the next step to establish clear picture of the vector composition and their role in the diseases transmission.
What is the aim of the project?
To collect the potential vectors of the diseases circulating in Sudan and to identify them using the morphological keys, molecular and barcoding methods. To test the identified samples for the presence of pathogens.
What techniques and methods are used?
Using varied entomological collection tools including oviposition traps, aspirators, and forceps to collect samples and identification keys and DNA-based methods (including barcoding and Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) based species identification assays) will be utilized to identify the collected samples to the species level. PCR and the enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) will be used to test entomological samples for the presence of pathogens.
What is the role of the student?
- The student will mainly observe
- The student will observe the practical experiments but will be highly involved in the analysis of the results
- The tasks of the student will be performed on his/her own
- The tasks will be done under supervision
What are the tasks expected to be accomplished by the student?
By the end of the Students exchange visit they are expected to confidently able to perform the following task: • Actively participate in the field-work inside Khartoum state to collect different stages of insects and arachnid of medical importance. • Applying the proper preserving techniques according to the type and purpose of the collected samples. • To use the international morphological keys to identify samples to the species level. • To perform molecular tests including PCR and ELISA. • To analyze the results of the molecular assays. • Writing scientific reports and presenting their findings to their peers and colleagues. • To critically review the online literature, prepare and deliver presentations about randomly assigned topics related to the vector-borne diseases.
Will there be any theoretical teaching provided (preliminary readings, lectures, courses, seminars etc)
Yes, all field and lab work will be succeeded by short presentations to introduce the theoretical concepts and explain the tasks and expected outcomes. General lectures will be delivered by the director of the institute and the head department of Parasitology and Medical Entomology, and invited academic visitors.
What is expected from the student at the end of the research exchange? What will be the general outcome of the student?
- The student will prepare a presentation - The student will prepare a scientific report - The student’s name will be mentioned in a future publication - The student will have the opportunity to present the results together with the supervisor at a conference
What skills are required of the student? Is there any special knowledge or a certain level of studies needed?
Ability to understand and follow scientific guidelines.
Are there any legal limitations in the student’s involvement
Type of students accepted
This project accepts: - Medical students - Students in biomedical fields
- - Benedict M. MR4 Methods in Anopheles Research; 4th edition. 2014. CDC Atlanta USA. - Z. Hamid; T. Hamid; K. Alsedig; T. Abdallah; Arwa Elaagip; A. Ahmed; F. Khalid; M. Abdel Hamid. 2018. Molecular investigation of Dengue virus serotype 2 circulation in Kassala state; Sudan. Japanese Journal of Infectious Diseases. DOI:10.7883/yoken.JJID.2018.267 - Walter Reed Biosystematics Unit; www.wrbu.org/
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