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AMF investigating [possible] theft of nets in Guinea

Against Malaria news - September 20, 2019 - 13:05

Summary: It is possible that a number of tens of thousands of AMF nets have been stolen from the recent Guinea universal coverage net campaign. A quantity of nets have been recovered in Mali, across the border.

AMF recently provided 4.8 million nets for distribution in Guinea as part of a larger nationwide campaign. The vast majority of the nets were distributed as planned and are accounted for in our databases. However, we are currently investigating a possible theft of some nets. Our current estimate is that, if some nets have been stolen, the quantity is 2 per cent or less of the nets provided. However, we take any instance like this extremely seriously and are carrying out a thorough investigation. We also want to report on any such matter openly to our donors. We are working intensively to recover all nets possible and learn what process improvements can be made to reduce the probability of recurrence.

Detail: On Wednesday 11th September it was brought to AMF's attention that a quantity of nets with AMF labels and clear 'For Guinea' markings were in Bamako, the capital of Mali. Mali shares a border with Guinea.

The report indicated that tens of thousands of nets could be involved with a high probability that there were nets from all three funders of the recent nationwide Guinea campaign - AMF, The Global Fund and USAID. These three organisations informed the Minister of Health in Mali, who, late in the evening of Friday 13th September, with support from ministry department staff and the local police, visited a privately owned warehouse in Bamako. They reported that 800 nets were found with USAID-Guinea markings, as well as cut-off net labels and unused counterfeit packaging. After further investigation, on Wednesday 18th September, a second warehouse was visited and 98,500 nets (ninety eight thousand five hundred) were found in counterfeit packaging with the net brand labels removed. Both quantities of nets were placed under guard by the authorities. Initial indications are that there are four different types of nets involved, including PermaNet 2.0 nets, the brand funded for Guinea by AMF.

The authorities in Mali have so far responded quickly and decisively. In Guinea, the authorities have begun an investigation to establish where in the supply chain a potential theft of nets may have occurred.

We do not yet know the quantities of AMF-funded nets involved i.e. whether it is large or small.

Our immediate next steps, working closely with other net funding partners and the authorities in Mali and Guinea are to establish
1) the brands, quantities and provenance of the nets found;
2) if other quantities of nets may be found in other warehouses;
3) performing a full audit of net movements in Guinea
Identifying the brands and batch numbers of nets will help establish what quantity of nets has come from Guinea and, for any such nets, help establish from which region they came.

Given AMF collects detailed household-level distribution data, we have been able to establish an initial estimate of the ceiling quantity of nets involved of 80,000. AMF shipped 4.8m nets to Guinea and detailed household-level distribution records (which are currently being versified and cleaned as part of the normal process following a campaign, so the following numbers may change) records 4,551,694 nets were distributed. The difference is 248,306 nets. From this figure we subtract the current estimate of nets left over from the distribution and in the possession of the authorities in Guinea which is approximately 170,000. This leaves an initial ceiling estimate of 80,000 unaccounted nets. As verification is completed this number may stay the same or come down substantially.

Our longer term goals are of course to a) return the nets to their original destination such that they can protect the beneficiaries intended and b) understand what caused this and update our processes accordingly.

In the coming days we will provide updates and report fully on what is found.

Clinically silent relapsing malaria may still pose a threat

Science Daily - September 19, 2019 - 18:22
Nonhuman primates with clinically undetectable Plasmodium relapse infections still harbor parasitic gametocytes that may be infectious to mosquitoes, according to a new study.

New tool in fight against malaria

Science Daily - September 18, 2019 - 18:42
Modifying a class of molecules originally developed to treat the skin disease psoriasis could lead to a new malaria drug that is effective against malaria parasites resistant to currently available drugs.

Innovative candidate drug against malaria

Science Daily - September 18, 2019 - 18:07
A molecule once designed to cure the skin disease psoriasis appears to be particularly effective against malaria. The antimalarial properties were revealed thanks to one researcher's inspired hunch when the psoriasis drug discovery program came to a dead end. The candidate drug offers considerable potential for combating this infectious disease.

Anemia may contribute to the spread of dengue fever

Science Daily - September 16, 2019 - 18:40
Mosquitoes are more likely to acquire the dengue virus when they feed on blood with low levels of iron, researchers report. Supplementing people's diets with iron in places where both iron deficiency anemia and dengue fever are a problem could potentially limit transmission of the disease, but there are risks.

Malaria could be felled by an Antarctic sea sponge

Science Daily - September 11, 2019 - 17:04
The frigid waters of the Antarctic may yield a treatment for a deadly disease that affects populations in some of the hottest places on earth. Current medications for that scourge -- malaria -- are becoming less effective as drug resistance spreads. But researchers report that a peptide they isolated from an Antarctic sponge shows promise as a lead for new therapies.

Diversity of Plasmodium falciparum across Sub-Saharan Africa

Science Daily - September 5, 2019 - 18:54
Scientists have identified the regional character to Plasmodium falciparum across Africa. Malaria, infecting 219 million individuals in 2017, remains a threat to public health and regional stability. Human movement and the introduction of antimalarial drugs were drivers of this genetic diversity. Gene flow between sub-populations could spread resistance from one sub-population to the rest of the continent.

Genome mining reveals novel production pathway for promising malaria treatment

Science Daily - September 4, 2019 - 21:57
Researchers are exploring the relationship between microbial natural products and the gene clusters that enable their production. By learning to recognize what genes lead to what types of products, they hope to use genome sequencing to speed discovery of new natural products that may have key therapeutic properties.

By comparing needles to mosquitoes, new model offers insights into Hepatitis C solutions

Science Daily - September 4, 2019 - 14:07
Removing used needles does not reduce the spread of Hepatitis C virus -- instead, changing the ratio of infected to uninfected needles is critical, study finds.

Biomarker predicts if someone infected with malaria will get sick

Science Daily - September 3, 2019 - 15:33
Increased p53, the well-known tumor-suppressor protein, can predict whether malaria-infected children will develop fever or other symptoms, suggests a new study. The authors say the findings could lead to new strategies for dampening the harmful inflammatory responses associated with some infections and identifying individuals who might be at risk for such responses.

Immortalized blood cell lines enable new studies of malaria invasion

Science Daily - August 29, 2019 - 14:28
Researchers have established a new model system that uses red blood cells grown in the laboratory to study how malaria parasites invade red blood cells.

Mosquito incognito: Could graphene-lined clothing help prevent mosquito bites?

Science Daily - August 26, 2019 - 19:07
A new study shows that graphene sheets can block the signals mosquitoes use to identify a blood meal, potentially enabling a new chemical-free approach to mosquito bite prevention.

To stop mosquito-transmitted illnesses, pay attention to how humans behave

Science Daily - August 26, 2019 - 19:06
Targeting the mosquito population within a defined area is the primary way scientists and public health officials mitigate the spread of diseases caused by viruses like Zika, dengue fever, and West Nile. But researchers have discovered that evaluating how humans commute to and from an affected area, as well as their living habits, is key for successful mitigation planning.

Genes tell the story of how the Asian tiger mosquito spread

Science Daily - August 22, 2019 - 18:19
Over the last 40 years, the Asian tiger mosquito, Aedes albopictus, has invaded every continent thanks to the transportation of its eggs via human trade and transportation. Researchers have now used the genomes of the mosquitoes to track the history of the invasion and expansion of the species through Albania, Italy, and Greece.

Malaria control success in Africa at risk from spread of multi-drug resistance

Science Daily - August 22, 2019 - 18:19
In the first continent-wide genomic study of malaria parasites in Africa, scientists have uncovered the genetic features of Plasmodium falciparum parasites that inhabit different regions of the continent, including the genetic factors that confer resistance to anti-malarial drugs. This sheds new light on the way that drug resistance is emerging in different locations and moving by various routes across Africa, putting previous success in controlling malaria at risk.

Map of malaria behavior set to revolutionize research

Science Daily - August 22, 2019 - 18:19
The first detailed map of individual malaria parasite behavior across each stage of its complicated life cycle has been created by scientists. Researchers used advanced single-cell technology to isolate individual parasites and measure their gene activity. The result is the Malaria Cell Atlas, which gives the highest resolution view of malaria parasite gene expression to date and monitors how individual parasites change as they develop in both the mosquito and human host.

An unreported Zika outbreak in 2017 detected through travel surveillance and genetics

Science Daily - August 22, 2019 - 15:33
By sequencing virus genomes from infected travelers, analyzing travel patterns and mosquito modeling, researchers unearthed a spike in Zika cases from travelers returning from Cuba during the summer of 2017 that was not captured by local reports.

AMF activity update: August 2019

Against Malaria news - August 21, 2019 - 17:00

A short update on activities going on in-country this month.

  • In DRC, the registration of 500,000 households in Équateur province is complete and the paper records have been sent to Kinshasa where the household information has been entered into AMF's database by our partner AGAPE. The data was entered by 170 data entry clerks, organised in three shifts, over a three-week period. Photos below. Analysis of the registration data begins this week, with the distribution of 1.5 million nets due to take place in early October. Registration in Sud Ubangi province of 600,000 households will take place at the end of September using electronic devices, and in Haut Katanga of 1.4 million households at the beginning of October.
  • In Zambia, our partner CHAZ has just finished a round of post-distribution monitoring (PDM) activities in Central province and they are now entering into AMF's database the data collected from approximately 4,000 households. Data from the North-Western province PDM have been entered and show sleeping space coverage of 72%, 14 months post distribution. The next PDM in Western province takes place at the end of August.
  • In Ghana, our partner World Vision is collecting data for the second PDM in Upper East region. The results of the first PDM in Brong Ahafo region are currently being imported into AMF's database. 3.6 million nets were distributed in 2018.
  • In Malawi, our partner the Red Cross has started PDM activity in Southern region. Data is being collected using smartphones from 17,000 households. 4.3 million nets were distributed in 2018.
  • In Guinea, the last wave of the distribution, of 940,000 nets, took place in the prefectures of Siguiri and Kankan. Photos below. Our partner organisation, United Purpose, monitored the distribution at a number of distribution sites which were randomly selected by AMF. Monitoring data was collected on electronic devices providing AMF with real-time access to the information. This completes the distribution of 4.8 million AMF-funded nets. Distribution data for the final wave will be entered into AMF's database by our partner Cabinet Diagnostic in the coming two weeks.
  • In Uganda, the 24-month PDM is taking place in selected districts in the Western region. PDMs in Uganda are staggered across many different months, as the distribution took place in four waves and monitoring is happening at 6-monthly intervals in randomly selected districts, and at 9-monthly intervals in other randomly selected districts.
  • In PNG, the rolling distribution of nets continues (year round activity, province by province) and PDM data has been collected in the provinces of Chimbu, Western Highlands and Eastern Highlands. The data is currently being entered into AMF's database for review. In 2019, a total of 1.0 million nets will be distributed.
  • In Togo, the 24-month PDM will take place in September. 2.4 million nets were distributed in 2018.

Malaria expert warns of need for malaria drug to treat severe cases in US

Science Daily - August 19, 2019 - 21:57
The US each year sees more than 1,500 cases of malaria, and currently there is limited access to an intravenously-administered (IV) drug needed for the more serious cases.

Monkey malaria breakthrough offers possible cure for relapsing malaria

Science Daily - August 15, 2019 - 14:15
A breakthrough in monkey malaria research could help scientists diagnose and treat a relapsing form of human malaria.


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