The scientist: Andres Amado will focus his research on the development of a platform dedicated to translate the malaria transmission blocking (TB) efficacy of anti-P. falciparum drugs to P. vivax. Andres is an entomological researcher at the Caucaseco Scientific Research Center (CSRC) and Malaria Vaccine and Drug Development Center (MVDC). He has experience working with malarial aspects of entomological field work, clinical trial studies and transmission blocking assays.
The sponsors: Malaria Vaccine and Drug Development Center, Caucaseco Scientific Research Center.
Foundation funding: The Foundation is providing £86,620 in support.
GSK’s contribution: GSK will provide training to the OL scientist in terms of scientific expertise in performing mosquito based transmission blocking assays as well as provide access to a set of GSK compounds which have been demonstrated to have transmission blocking activity.
Project Description: Successful in vitro culture of all stages of Plasmodium falciparum gametocytes have led to the development of transmission blocking assays ranging from low to high throughput screens. The inability to successfully culture P. vivax in vitro impedes analogous efforts against P. vivax. For this reason we rely on Plasmodium vivax isolates from human patients / volunteers.
GSK DDW has recently established an Insectary facility with Anopheles stephensi mosquitoes, the main malaria mosquito vector from the Indo-Iranian region, with the goal of discovering anti-malarial molecules which block transmission of the sexual stages of the malaria parasite to the insect vector. Mosquito-based assays using in vitro grown P. falciparum gametocycte cultures have been standardized and are being used routinely to screen for anti-malarials with transmission blocking efficacy.
In this collaborative project a set of GSK compounds will be screened for activity against P. falciparum mature gametocytes in the Standard Membrane Feeding Assay (SMFA). The standard protocols developed at GSK for drug treatment of P. falciparum gametocytes, gametocyte viability and the SMFA will be adapted to the treatment of P. vivax gametocytes obtained from patient blood at the Caucaseco Scientific Research Center (CSRC) labs in Colombia. The same set of GSK compounds with P. falciparum transmission blocking activity will be used to treat P. vivax gametocytes which will be fed to An. albimanus mosquitoes in the Direct Membrane Feeding Assays (DMFA). Establishing such a platform dedicated to translation of efficacy of drugs from P. falciparum to P. vivax will greatly contribute to the discovery of molecules with P. vivax transmission blocking activity.