The 2018 Land Rover Bursary recipients, led by Dr George Busby from the University of Oxford, travelled over 6,300 km across Namibia, Zambia, Tanzania and Kenya to investigate the challenges facing those on the front line of malaria control in Africa.
Malaria parasites infect more than 200 million people every year and kill approximately 400,000 - 90% of these deaths occur in sub-Saharan Africa. Anti-malarial drugs have halved deaths since 2000, however now the parasites which cause the disease are developing resistance to these drugs and this resistance is spreading. In order to control and eventually eliminate malaria, we need to better understand the distribution of this resistance, and this requires innovative ways of monitoring mosquito populations and levels of both antimalarial and insecticide resistance.
DNA sequencing can provide up-to-date information about which drugs a parasite is resistant to since, as Dr Busby explained, “Drug resistance is the result of mutations in the parasite genome”. Until now, genome sequencing has been expensive and lab-based, but recent advances in mobile genetic sequencing mean that there is now the opportunity to take this technology into the field to provide information to malaria control programmes.
Driving a specially-equipped Land Rover Discovery, complete with a mobile genetic sequencing laboratory, the Mobile Malaria Project team trialled the use of portable DNA sequencing technology. From Walvis Bay in Namibia through Zambia and Tanzania to Kilifi in Kenya, they collaborated with colleagues at African research centres working on the front line of malaria eradication.
Watch the video above to find out more about their journey.
The Land Rover Bursary has been run by the Society on behalf of Jaguar Land Rover since 2007 and offers £30,000 and the use of a vehicle to make a challenging journey that promotes a wider understanding or enjoyment of geography.
Find out more about the Land Rover Bursary.
We have launched a new bank of online resources to support those engaged in geographical teaching and learning in higher education.
Congratulations to everyone receiving their GCSE geography results today.
The Society, working with the Association for Geographic Information (AGI), has published a new series of case studies championing and celebrating the critical role of geographical information, technologies and approaches.
Members of the Migrants on the margins team will be presenting their research in a session at this year’s Annual International Conference.
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