Home » News »

Warsaw University of Technology joins the fight against malaria

Photo of a mosquito on human skin

source: pixabay.com, author: Iksuperboy

Malaria is one of the most frequent infectious diseases. Fighting against one of its variants is the purpose of an international research consortium PvSTATEM. WUT scientists have joined the work of the consortium.

Malaria is a parasite disease caused among people by five species of the Plasmodium family protozoan. One of them is Plasmodium vivax (P. vivax). It can establish a dormant form in the liver (the hypnozoite), which makes fighting it more difficult. Liver stadiums are undetectable and may reactivate within a few weeks or months after the primary infection, to cause a relapse. Parasites occurring in this way in the blood cause the disease which may be transmitted from people to mosquitos.

The international consortium PvSTATEM (P. vivax Serological Testing and Treatment in Ethiopia and Madagascar) in 2022 started a project the aim of which is to develop a new solution to control and eliminate malaria caused by P. vivax. Scientists developed a diagnostic test to measure the level of antibodies against chosen Plasmodium vivax antibodies and thus detect people who were infected not a long time ago and so may be hypnozoite carriers. The infected persons may be treated with primaquine to remove hypnozoites and prevent recurring infections. This is PvSeroTAT, a combination of a novel diagnostic test and primaquine treatment - the idea to control and eliminate P. vivax malaria.

In further stages consortium members will do clinical tests in Ethiopia and on Madagascar to evaluate the effectiveness of PvSeroTAT. They will also check if the solution is accepted by the society and people and institutions involved in the health care system. Part of the project is also development of mobile technologies in the field of health, facilitating implementation of P. vivax serological tests and primaquine treatment.

The consortium is planning to develop a method of machine learning to supervise malaria at the population level. This is a task Warsaw University of Technology scientists will help with as they joined PvSTATEM. Prof. Przemysław Biecek and dr Nuno Sepúlveda from the Faculty of Mathematics and Information Science will participate in the project.

– We will use mathematical modeling, machine learning tools and digital technologies to develop new software to enable prediction of malaria transmission at the population level and evaluation of the impact of the PvSeroTAT method – explains prof. Przemysław Biecek.

The interdisciplinary consortium PvSTATEM comprises 9 partners from Europe, Africa and Australia: Paris Pasteur Institute, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, Amauer Hansen Research Institute in Ethiopia, Pasteur Institute on Madagascar, University of Galway in Ireland, Foundation for Innovative New Diagnostics in Switzerland, Italian association MEDEA, Walter and Eliza Hall Institute in Australia and Warsaw University of Technology.

The project will last until 2027. More information can be found at the consortium website: www.pvstatem.eu