Section: Application Domains
Modeling the building of immunity to malaria
In modeling the reaction of the immune system to a Plasmodium falciparum infection. Malaria infection gives rise to host responses which are regulated by both the innate and acquired immune system as well as by environmental factors. Acquired immunity is species- and stage-specific. A malaria infection initiates a complicated cascade of events. The regulation of this complex system with numerous feedbacks is intricately balanced. The objective is to build a computer model which allows to test the dynamics of malaria infection. This research is conducted in collaboration with immunologists. We collaborate also with B. Cazelles and J.F. Trape of the research unity 77 “Afro-tropical epidemiology" of IRD in Sénégal. The steady increase of Plasmodium falciparum resistance to cheap first line antimalarials over the last decades has resulted in a dramatic increase in malaria-associated morbidity and mortality in sub-Saharan Africa. Research in recent years has established that resistance to chloroquine (CQ), pyrimethamine has been controlled and constantly monitored for more than a decade, coinciding to the time period of expansion of CQ- and SP-resistance across Africa.
The longitudinal active case detection study launched in Dielmo in 1990 by the UR77 of IRD, a rural Senegalese village, is probably the only place where drug use has been controlled and constantly monitored for more than a decade, coinciding to the time period of expansion of CQ- and SP-resistance across Africa. This is an unprecedented opportunity to quantify the impact of a strictly controlled use of antimalarials on drug resistance. Furthermore, first line treatment was changed in 1995, allowing to explore its consequences on dynamics of spreading of drug resistance.