Tsetse transmitted Human African Trypanosomiasis (HAT) has re-emerged and poses a major public health crisis in Sub Sahara. There are no vaccines and efficacious drugs for control of parasite infections in the mammalian host. In contrast, control of the vector insect tsetse populations can effectively break the disease cycle. Extensive resources have been generated in the developed country laboratories with respect to tsetse genomics/genetics that can immediately improve the existing vector control tools, while promising the development of future strategies. The ability of products resulting from high-tech research to reach field implementation stages requires the presence of endemic country scientists who are well-informed in the full potential of the developed technologies, who can evaluate the pros and cons of these solutions, and who can present these perspectives to the general public and to the involved government agencies. In this training program, Yale University scientists will work with the Trypanosomiasis Research Center (TRC) in Kenya to strengthen the biomedical capacity and to acquire and implement the recent advances in applied vector genomics, genetics and bioinformatics to enhance the existing HAT control/management tools. TRC has been identified by a World Health Organization competitive initiative as the lead organization in Africa to coordinate the continent-wide capacity strengthening activities for HAT. A regional network (Eastern African Network of Trypanosomoses, EANETT) consisting of the lead institutions with governmental mandates to work on HAT in Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Sudan and Malawi has already made considerable progress in building south-south initiatives. The specific objectives of this application are to: 1) Develop expertise at TRC and their associates to address mechanisms of parasite transmission biology, genetics of vector competence, population biology, and bioinformatics. 2) Strengthen collaborations with the laboratories in the endemic countries in Africa to enable transfer of new technologies and tools relevant for HAT control and promote their integration into the on-going disease control programs. 3) Develop training modules (seminars, workshops and mentored research activities) to increase research capacity for HAT in Africa with a specific focus on vector biology.
Funding support: D43TW007391
GLOBAL INFECTIOUS DISEASE RESEARCH TRAINING PROGRAM AWARD, Fogarty International Center, NIH