Date of release: Tuesday, May 2, 2017

NRIPioneering researchers at the University of Greenwich's Natural Resources Institute (NRI) marked World Malaria Day with a double celebration.

The team began testing its new Human Decoy Trap, which catches mosquitoes by exploiting the insect's blood-seeking behaviour. The trap has just been awarded research funding by the Medical Research Council.

Meanwhile, NRI Research Fellow Dr Frances Hawkes attended a ceremony in Geneva, where a short video about the new NRI mosquito trap received an award from the Swiss Malaria Group.

The Swiss Malaria Group, marking the country's leading role in the fight against the disease, brings together researchers and charities alongside a wide range of public and private sector organisations.

The video, and a full-length documentary screened by the BBC, were made by Streamline productions.

Dr Hawkes says: "Both the award-winning video and the BBC documentary mean we are now able to share the realities of malaria, and the challenges the disease presents, with new audiences.

"Mosquitoes are highly attracted to how we look and smell and can detect our body heat. The Human Decoy Trap mimics these characteristics and is able to lure malaria mosquitoes and capture them when they land."

The NRI team, led by Professor Gabriella Gibson, is working in collaboration with the Health Sciences Research Institute in Burkina Faso and the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) to put the Human Decoy Trap into action. They will be trialling the pioneering trap in Burkina Faso, Benin and Cameroon – countries where malaria causes thousands of deaths every year.

The team hopes to show that the Human Decoy Trap can provide public health teams with better quality data on the prevalence of malaria mosquitoes, which is essential for disease surveillance and evaluation of malaria control interventions.

In addition to testing the performance of the trap, the team will work closely with public health technicians and local communities to understand their needs and perspectives.

Lora Forsythe, Senior Research Fellow at NRI, adds: "This will help us ensure that the Human Decoy Trap is acceptable to end-users and the communities where research takes place."

Watch the award-winning video here:

Watch the full BBC documentary here:

Story by Public Relations

Picture credit: R Zipaj.