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Eltahir research group at MIT on African malaria

December 7, 2016 - 21:21 -- William Jobin

I recommend the following recent publication for your reading on african malaria : Endo and Eltahir Malar J (2016) 15:578 DOI 10.1186/s12936-016-1633-7. The report is 'Environmental determinants of malaria transmission in African villages' by Noriko Endo and Elfatih A. B. Eltahir. You should also take a look at all the preceding publications of the Eltahir research group at MIT, which you can find if you look up the Eltahir research group on the web. Noriko Endo is working on her doctorate, and has determined that global warming could pose new and serious malaria risks in the Ethiopian Highlands, where people have not developed immunity to malaria. Previously Teresa Yamana has determined that global climate change does not pose the same risk for increased malaria in West Africa.

Recently it has been my privilege to review some of their publications on malaria including sophisticated and detailed computer simulations of malaria transmission, especially for West Africa and now for Ethiopia as well. Their computer simulation is a mechanistic model called HYDREMATS which uses hydrological and epidemiological data to examine malaria transmission, to predict the effect of global climate change, and to evaluate ways to reduce and suppress malaria transmission. The latest version of their model includes the role of human immunity.

While their computer models are incredibly detailed, they use and are based on field data collected by the Eltahir group in Niger, West Africa, and Ethiopia, as well as laboratory studies on the stranding of mosquito larvae around african reservoirs.

Prof. Eltahir has been guiding doctoral candidates in this research for several years, and their valuable research is now available in several publications. You will have to put on your thinking caps to follow the intricate and far-ranging analyses which he and his students have conducted. But it is the kind of cutting edge research we need to combat this menace.

Bill Jobin