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The Mobile Malaria Project team, led by Dr George Busby from University of Oxford, will travel over 6,300km across Namibia, Zambia, Tanzania and Kenya to investigate the challenges facing those on the front line of malaria control in Africa – where 90 per cent of the world’s cases occur.

The 2018 Royal Geographical Society Land Rover Bursary recipients have begun their eight week journey. Driving a specially-equipped Land Rover Discovery, the team will research the potential of portable DNA sequencing technology. Their bespoke vehicle is equipped with a mobile genetic sequencing laboratory and extensive modifications. These modifications will allow the team to trial portable DNA sequencing technology, in collaboration with African research centres, to better understand how the technology can be used in different locations. This will provide important information about malaria parasite and mosquito populations, including drug and insecticide resistance.

Dr George Busby, Mobile Malaria Project expedition leader, said: “Although global malaria rates have halved over the past 20 years, progress more recently has stalled. By working with colleagues in Namibia, Zambia, Tanzania and Kenya, our journey will help us to understand the challenges facing malaria researchers in Africa in 2019. The loan of the Discovery not only gives us the capability we need to visit locations we might not have been able to reach otherwise, it gives us the space and versatility to transport the equipment we need. This will allow us to gain a better understanding of how this technology could be used to answer locally relevant questions about malaria parasites and the mosquitoes that transmit them.”

Read more (Big Data Institute website)

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