The GENMOZ a project implemented in Mozambique by the Manhiça Health Research Center (CISM), in collaboration with the National Malaria Control Program (PNCM), a Malaria Consortium, the Barcelona Global Health Institute (ISGlobal), a University of California and the Institute for Disease Modeling, under funding from Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF), is to contribute to the study on the resistance of antimalarials in the country. According to the PNCM technician, Bernadete Rafael, recent data from the study indicate that the current drugs in use, based on artemisinins, continue to be effective, although there is a high prevalence of molecular markers of resistance to Fansidar (Sulfadoxine and Pyrimethamine), for the preventive treatment of pregnant women and children, is still not a concern for the National Health System.
GENMOZ also contributes to monitoring the effectiveness of rapid malaria tests
“In addition, GENMOZ also contributes to monitoring the effectiveness of rapid malaria tests to see whether or not there is a change in the malaria gene, which may imply changing the type of rapid test in Mozambique, as well as to monitor the dynamics of malaria cases in pregnant women, via sentinel posts, established by the project in the communities”, emphasized the PNCM technician.
At CISM alone, for example, this project is contributing to the training of 5 young researchers
Furthermore, according to the Scientific Director of CISM, Pedro Aide, GENMOZ is a good platform to evaluate the impacts of the different interventions of the PNCM in the fight against malaria, as well as for the training of researchers CISM, PNCM, or other countries. “At CISM alone, for example, this project is contributing to the training of 5 young researchers, and has contributed to the strengthening of our laboratories in carrying out genomic surveillance, including the installation of state-of-the-art sequencers for gene prognoses”, he added.
According to the institution's program officer, Estee Torok, “the combination of high technology, advocated by GENMOZ in the fight against malaria, was crucial to awaken the interest of BMGF, which was predisposed to finance the project. This is because malaria is a public health concern not only for Mozambique, but also for other African countries, and we are interested in seeing whether the molecular surveillance of malaria that the project establishes can improve current methods of prevention, diagnosis and treatment. of the disease”. Estee Torok added that “it would be interesting if the project continued for more years, as it is showing relevance in the fight against malaria in Mozambique.”
In turn, Sónia Gonçalves, researcher at Wellcome Sanger Institute believes that “this project is a pioneer, as it is demonstrating that it is possible to integrate genomic malaria surveillance into the national health system, and Congratulations are due to the CISM, the PNCM and its partners who are demonstrating the effectiveness of this strategy and the challenge of maintaining it for many years is imposed”.
The interlocutors were speaking during the project's annual meeting, which took place from May 30 to June 1, in the city of Maputo. An event that, according to the Principal Investigator, Alfredo Mayor, served to present preliminary results and challenges of the project.