Mapping resistance to household insecticides in Aedes arbovirus vectors across India

Arboviruses transmitted by Aedes mosquitoes are an increasing global threat, and improved deployment of vector control tools is urgently needed to combat growing insecticide resistance. Household use of insecticides represents a major, but poorly understood source of selection for resistance. This proposal aims to quantify relationships between sales of commercial products, insecticide resistance and underlying mechanisms in Indian Aedes species.

The project is offered by Dr David Weetman and Dr Mark Paine (Foto-Cewek) in collaboration with Dr Manas, Sarkar (Godrej Industries, Mumbai, India) and Dr Luigi Sedda (Lancaster University).

Where does this project lie in the translational pathway?

The project is primarily basic research into a novel area (T1) but will provide resistance maps and molecular diagnostics to inform governmental Aedes control programs, and also crucially for targeting commercial sales of alternative insecticidal products potentially with T3/T4 impacts.

What are the quantitative skills training elements or methodological development aspects of PhD project 

Training will be provided in spatial mapping techniques, bioinformatics and statistical genetics.

What are the expected outputs (publications, funding, impact) of the PhD project?

The project is working toward an important goal – the partnership of translational academic research and industry to generate data of mutual interest, and commercial value for the industry partner. It is anticipated that this will lead to substantial opportunities for follow on funding from schemes requiring industry partners. The field of arbovirus control is a global priority which combined with the novelty of investigating commercial/ household drivers of insecticide resistance should lead to high impact publications and impact via influence of results for targeting sales of insecticide.

What external training opportunities will be available for the student e.g. SMEs, industry, health agencies?

The student will work with collaborators at Godrej Industries, Asia’s largest supplier of household insecticide products for both laboratory work and field collections in India. This project builds on and extends ongoing collaborations between Godrej and the primary and secondary supervisors of the project.

Five key publications of the primary supervisor relevant to the project:

  1. Seixas G, Grigoraki L, Weetman D, Vicente JL, Silva AC, Pinto J, Vontas J, Sousa CA. (2017) Insecticide resistance is mediated by multiple mechanisms in recently introduced Aedes aegypti from Madeira Island (Portugal). Insecticide resistance is mediated by multiple mechanisms in recently introduced Aedes aegypti from Madeira Island (Portugal). PLoS Negl Trop Dis 11: e0005799.
  2. Moyes CL, Vontas J, Martins AJ, Ng LC, Koou SY, Dusfour I, Raghavendra K, Pinto J, Corbel V, David J-P, Weetman D (2017) Contemporary status of insecticide resistance in the major Aedes vectors of arboviruses infecting humans. PLoS Negl Trop Dis 11: e0005625
  3. Gomes B, Purkait B, Deb RM, Rama A, Singh RP, Foster GM, Coleman M, Kumar V, Paine M, Das P, Weetman D (2017) Knockdown resistance mutations predict DDT resistance and pyrethroid tolerance in the visceral leishmaniasis vector Phlebotomus argentipes. PLoS Negl Trop Dis 11: e0005504. doi: 10.1371/journal.pntd.0005504.
  4. Al Nazawi AM, Aqili J, Alzahrani M, McCall PJ, Weetman D (2017) Combined target site (kdr) mutations play a primary role in highly pyrethroid resistant phenotypes of Aedes aegypti from Saudi Arabia. Parasit Vectors. 10:161. doi: 10.1186/s13071-017-2096-6.
  5. Donnelly M, Isaacs A, Weetman D (2016) Identification, Validation, and Application of Molecular Diagnostics for Insecticide Resistance in Malaria Vectors. Trends in Parasitol 32: 197-206.