Krijn Paaijmans, researcher at ISGlobal, has been awarded a Grand Challenges Explorations (GCE) grant for his project "Mosquito mist nets for the surveillance of disease vectors". The main goal of the project is to develop a mosquito trap to collect mosquitoes of medical importance, independently of their species, sex, feeding status or host preference. The collected insects will provide information on the type of mosquitoes and their capacity to transmit diseases, which is crucial for developing successful insect control strategies.
To date, the majority of mosquito traps collect only a part of the population, frequently those that are feeding, resting or laying eggs on water. In order to estimate the real frequency of disease-transmitting mosquitoes in a given area, Dr. Paaijmans and his collaborators, Prof. Elies Molins (Institute of Materials Science of Barcelona, CSIC, Spain) and Dr. Andreas Rose (Biogents AG, Germany), propose a trapping method that captures all mosquitoes irrespective of their physiological status. The trap, a mosquito net with electrostatic charge and sticky surface placed in different indoor and outdoor environments, would act like a spider-web, attracting and trapping a representative sample of the mosquito population. The mosquitoes can then be recovered alive, identified and their infection status and blood meal source can be determined. The project will receive a US$100,000 funding for 18 months, during which Dr. Paaijmans' team will design and test the mosquito net and validate its efficacy in small field trials. The three researchers (Dr. Paaijmans, Prof. Molins and Dr. Rose) held a first meeting that took place at ISGlobal on the 8th of May.
Grand Challenges Explorations (GCE) is an initiative funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to support innovative ideas to tackle key global health and development problems. Successful projects can receive a follow-on grant of up to US$1 million. GCE was launched in 2008 and has funded over 800 projects in almost 50 countries.