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April 18, 2013

JICA Supported Vector Resaerch Project Detects a Virus in Mosquitoes in MALAWI

Burdened with the scourge of fevers, headaches and body pains often considered as Malaria, University of Malawi in collaboration with Nagasaki University and with support from JICA and Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS) undertook a research project to develop surveillance tools to monitor arbor virus (insect vector transmitted viruses) especially in mosquitoes. The project covered the whole country and different species of mosquitoes were collected and analyzed.

JICA supported the project with procurement and establishment of a well-equipped modern laboratory. The institution is so far the only one in the country with a Vector laboratory. The project managed to identify and classify mosquito species in Malawi and classify them according to viruses they transmit. Through the JICA established modern lab, the team managed to detect a special virus from one mosquito sample. The virus is most likely a virus called as O'nyoug'nyong. The sample has since been sent to Ngasaki University for further analysis. If it is surely O'nyoug'nyong virus, it will be the first ever case in Malawi that O'nyoug'nyong virus could be detected from mosquitoes collected in Malawi. This project will successfully establish a new scientific record to add a new knowledge for the research and treatment of arbovirus diseases in Malawi.

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The two year project was closed on 18th April 2013 with an international workshop for the establishment of research network between three countries, Malawi, Kenya and Japan. The workshop was a chance for the project to give a report on its findings. The project has also helped to build a network of researchers among the three countries.

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