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GENMOZ: AN OPPORTUNITY FOR MALARIA GENOMIC SEQUENCING


The GENMOZ (Prospective surveillance study to detect resistance to antimalarial drugs, genetic deletions of diagnostic relevance and genetic diversity of Plasmodium falciparum in Mozambique) a project implemented by CISM, in collaboration with the National Control Program (PNCM), the Malaria Consortium and the IGlobal Health Institute of Barcelona (ISGlobal) , and co-funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF ) and the Institute for Disease Modeling (IDM) , is building malaria genomic capabilities in Mozambique in order to increase actionable intelligence for making programmatic decisions about the optimal mix of disease control and elimination measures in the country.

...genomic surveillance is an important tool that can guide public health strategies

“Research on genomic surveillance in the context of the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic has shown that this is an important tool that can guide public health strategies, with a view to eradicating various diseases, therefore, through the study of DNA and RNA of these pathogens. However, despite the proven effectiveness of this tool, few countries have installed capacity for genotypic sequencing. Our country, Mozambique, did not have this capacity, and with the aim of introducing the use of this tool in the country, the GENMOZ project was conceived”, explained Alfredo Mayor, principal investigator of the project in Mozambique.

GENMOZ focuses on antimalarial resistance, diagnosis, and the importation of malaria parasites from one region to another

According to the latest report of the World Health Organization (WHO) published in 2022, Mozambique registered in 2021, about 4.3% of the global cases of malaria and about 3 .8% of deaths from the disease, making it the fourth country with the highest contribution to the global burden of malaria. “And the fact that we are still not able to control the disease either by vaccines or other methods such as vector control and the administration of medicines, among other alternatives, led the researchers of the GENMOZ project to propose its implementation in Mozambique, based on the WHO recommendations. The project focuses on resistance to antimalarials, diagnosis, importation of malaria parasites from one region to another, diversity of malaria parasite genetics (in order to understand the stratification of malaria transmission) and the use of easily accessible populations. access (pregnant women in the first consultations) as a comparison group” comments Clemente da Silva, one of the GENMOZ researchers.


“To implement the project within the period, we had to purchase equipment, in fact, one of the first in the country for genetic sequencing (MiSeq), but we also had to train human resources in bioinformatics and molecular biology so that our team could respond to the needs of the project”, comments Kiba Jamila Comiche, GENMOZ Project Manager.

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