Genetic Approaches to Malaria Surveillance and Elimination in China
This project will employ technology transfer, data analysis, and training approaches to enable Chinese scientists to apply genetic-based technologies to classic disease surveillance efforts. The ultimate goal of this work is to inform improved decision-making to achieve malaria eradication.
- Deploy genetic surveillance tools to characterize malaria parasites as indigenous or imported as the PRC approaches elimination;
- Establish an inventory of parasite genetic sequences that will be integrated with existing databases within the malaria community to inform parasite origins and develop modelling approaches to predict the effects of parasite introduction and movement;
- Incorporate data findings into tools for government and research decision-making to inform case and outbreak responses and continued control and surveillance following elimination certification; and
- Provide mentored training of students and trainees in the deployment, use, and analysis of genomic data for malaria elimination.
Using a novel approach developed by scientists at Harvard and the Broad Institute, the project will characterize parasites isolated from patients in China to a “zip code” of origin for each parasite. By exploiting the parasite’s genetic material, researchers will be able to track a parasite—or its “zip code”—to determine its geographic origins, including insights on indigenous parasites circulating within the country or parasites imported from other malaria-endemic countries. These tools will allow China to track the final infections of malaria and achieve malaria-free status by 2020, and they will offer a road map for other countries having a similar goal of malaria elimination and eradication.