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Mathematics Colloquium

Abba Gumel
University of Maryland, College Park

Title: Mathematics of malaria transmission dynamics: the renewed quest for eradication
Date: Friday December 15, 2023
Place and Time: Love 101, 3:05-3:55 pm

Abstract. Malaria, a deadly disease caused by protozoan Plasmodium parasites, is spread between humans via the bite of infected adult female Anopheles mosquitoes. Over 2.5 billion people live in geographies whose local epidemiology permits transmission of P. falciparum, responsible for most of the life-threatening forms of malaria. The wide-scale and heavy use of insecticide-based mosquito control interventions (notably long-lasting insecticidal nets and indoor residual spraying) during the period 2000-2015 resulted in a significant reduction in malaria incidence and burden in endemic areas, prompting a renewed quest for malaria eradication. Numerous factors, such as Anopheles resistance to the currently available insecticides used in mosquito control and anthropogenic climate change, potentially pose important challenges to the eradication efforts. In this talk, I will discuss a genetic-epidemiology mathematical modeling framework for assessing the combined impacts of insecticide resistance and climate change on distribution and burden of malaria mosquitoes and disease. Specifically, questions on whether eradication can be achieved using existing insecticide-based control resources will be addressed. If time permits, I may briefly discuss the potential of some of the gene drive-based biological interventions being proposed as a plausible alternative pathway for achieving the malaria eradication objective.