Research grant from ANTI-VeC

12 Jul 2021

PIIVeC fellow Marcel Sandeu has been awarded a competitive research grant worth £40,000 for his project entitled “Genetic diversity and maternal transmission of Microsporidia MB strains in field populations of the major malaria vector Anopheles gambiae s.l. Cameroon”. This project will allow Marcel to extend the scope of his current research through PIIVeC.


Malaria remains a major public health burden in Africa. Increasing insecticide resistance in mosquitoes demands the development of new approaches to fight this disease. Paratransgenesis and RNAi approaches, using engineered microorganisms, have been shown to reduce mosquito vector competence. More recently, research efforts have suggested that Microsporidian MB symbionts of mosquitoes offer a possible way of controlling
malaria, as they impede the development of Plasmodium parasites within the Anopheles arabiensis mosquito in Kenya. However, the presence of Microsporidian MB symbionts has not been widely investigated in other Anopheles species and/or in other African regions such as Central Africa.


Through this project, the main question that Marcel wants to address is “Could the Microsporidian MB symbiont be present in other Anopheles species and/or in other African regions such as Cameroon”?  The main objective of this project is to assess the prevalence and diversity of Microsporidian MB in Anopheles gambiae s.l. and their interactions with Plasmodium infection. This symbiont will contribute to the potential introduction of natural symbionts into Anopheles mosquito populations from endemic areas facilitating this promising strategy to prevent and reduce malaria transmission.