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Cycle 1

Principal Investigator: Isra Wahid, Universitas Hasanuddin
NIH-Supported Collaborator: David Severson, University of Notre Dame
Title of NIH Award: Diapause in Culex mosquitoes
Project dates: October 2013 - April 2018

Project Overview

Arthropod-borne viruses are a concern in areas like Indonesia (an emerging pathogen ‘hotspot’) because of the ease with which vectors can transfer RNA viruses between wildlife, humans and livestock, and because of the large variety of pathogenic viruses already known to exist. However, there are no known records of these pathogenic viruses (such as West Nile, Sepik, Banna) in Indonesia though they are known to exist at similar latitudes. Dengue virus, present in Indonesia, is an emerging global health threat, and disease prevention depends completely on avoiding the mosquito host that transmits the virus from human to human. No other dengue disease prevention or treatment methods exist. Preliminary evidence suggests that there may be differences in allele frequencies related vector competence to transmit Dengue virus. This study seeks to understand the genetic composition of mosquito populations seasonally and among communities in order to predict levels of mosquito diversity and movement within and between communities, and to assess vector competence to transmit dengue viruses throughout a transmissions season. This study will make a survey of potentially pathogenic arboviruses from mosquitoes collected throughout Indonesia aimed at identifying viruses, their vectors, as well as temporal transmission characteristics towards discovery and informing intervention programs. The primary objective of this study is to survey for potentially pathogenic mosquito-borne arboviruses in their vectors to geographically map risk, estimate force of infection, and identify potential emerging pandemic threats. A secondary objective focusing on the dengue virus vector will investigate if there is a temporal change in the vector genotype with associated impacts on vector competence between the wet and dry seasons. This study will entail systematic collections of mosquitoes in all ecological zones prevalent on the island of Sulawesi. The study team will identify vectors to species to determine the diversity of mosquitoes and ID those known to harbor human pathogens. The researchers will also perform virus isolation in vertebrate cell cultures towards virus identification. Finally, the researchers will examine seasonal effects on Ae. aegypti population genetics and DENV susceptibility. It is expeced that the study team will collect circulating viruses that have never been recorded at these sites and the possibility exists of identifying novel viruses in the preliminary survey. Vector results will enable the characterization of geographic vector-virus transmission systems and will allow a better understanding of local dengue transmission and hence better intervention strategies.

PH 1-16 Indonesia photo 1PH 1-16 Indonesia photo 2 
Mosquito capture nets placed between the village and the mosquito breeding site.Mosquito collection efforts by Dr. Wahid and his team (photo courtesy Dr. Wahid) 

Summary of Recent Activities:

In the final quarter of 2017, the PI Dr. Wahid reported that after a long process of obtaining approvals and making logistical arrangements, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has provided his lab with a virus control sample essential for their analytical work. Jenna Davidson, a PhD student from Notre Dame University, is starting to analyze mosquito samples for arboviruses using several DNA controls prepared at Notre Dame, along with the control sample from CDC. In addition to their PEER-supported project, the researchers at Universitas Hasanuddin are also busy with several collaborations with other international partners. One large joint project has been selected to receive funding from the Global Challenges Research Fund and another smaller one has been funded by the University of St. Andrews, Scotland.

In November 2017, Dr. Wahid and his team met with officials from the North Mamuju Health Office to provide recommendations on a malaria vector survey. The following month, they also met with health officials from Sabang City to identify mosquito vectors of Plasmodium knowlesi on the island and provide evidence-based recommendations related to strategies to combat P. knowlesi transmission.

Health Cycle 1 Recipients