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SBIDER: Laboratory and Clinical

Much of the research within SBIDER relies on high quality data to both motivate our work and to determine parameters for the underlying models. We therefore work extremely closely with individual researchers as well as (inter)national agencies to access to ensure access to the highest quality data and to enable our findings to have maximum impact. However, we also have multiple projects that generate data; these include:

Field Work and Data Collection

There are multiple on-going projects that are collecting survey data from farmers on behaviour, disease incidence and control, often complemented by field and lab work. A considerable amount of this research has focused on footrot - a debilating disease of sheep - seeking to understand the causitive agents, the spatiotemporal dynamics and the optimal methods of plausible control. This is now being supplemented by more generic research into the heterogenety in farmer behaviourm and how this will impact national control measures.

Work in Southeast Asia is collecting data on rabies in both humans and dogs, with a focus on intergrated management of this deadly disease. This follows WHO global targets of zero human deaths from dog-mediated rabies by 2030. Our work combines extensive understanding of rabies dynamics with sophisticated quantitative tools will allow us to explore and evaluate the effectiveness of potential intervention options for disease management, ensuring that the resulting recommendations are practical and implementable for stake-holders.

Lab and Clinical work

Visceral leishmaniasis is a disease that is spread between dogs and humans by biting sandflies. A cluster randomised trial is underway in Brazil to test the efficacy of a male sandfly pheromone lure combined with insecticide, to reduce Leishmania infantum incidence in both dogs (the reservoir) and humans (the incidental host). In collaboration with Keele University and local partners (Fiocruz-RG, and UNESP) our on-going three-arm trial will examine the benefits of the “lure and kill” approach as compared to insecticide-impregnated collars fitted to dogs, and to a placebo control. The outcomes will include changes in exposure, measured by host anti-sandfly saliva antibody, and changes in infection measured by anti-Leishmania antibody and quantitative PCR of canine skin Leishmania loads. Complimentary entomological data are also being collected.

Collaborative work between Warwick, Oxford, Bristol and LSTM is using a combination of laboratory data and detailed mathematical modelling to understand the dynamics of tsetse (the insect vector that transmits sleeping sickness). In these laboratory conditions, we can study in detail how tsetse behaviour and life expectancy is influenced by a range of different factors, allowing us to better define this dynamics in models of sleeping sickness transmission.

Lab and Clinical work in Kenya

Based at the KEMRI-Wellcome Trust Research Programme in Kenya, our clinical and laboratory work is focused on achieving the following objectives (i) defining the burden of disease from respiratory and enteric viruses within the local community based on the long-term surveillance of paediatric hospital admissions with severe pneumonia or diarrhoea, (ii) developing understanding of the immunological mechanisms associated with severe life-threatening respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) disease in early infancy taking a systems biology approach, (iii) improving our understanding of the patterns of transmission (introductions, persistence, fadeout) of respiratory viruses at various spatial scales from households and schools, to local community, nationally across Kenya and across the African continent, by integrating virus genomic sequence, epidemiological and social behavioural data, and (iv) evaluating the impact of viral vaccine interventions – such as rotavirus. Data from virus surveillance is shared with the Kenya Ministry of Health and international agencies. Our laboratory is equipped to undertake molecular diagnostics and antigen detection for a wide range of pneumonia and diarrhoea causing viruses, with capacity to undertake conventional Sanger and Next Generation (Illumina Miseq) sequencing and associated bioinformatics. Serological assays, cell culture and neutralisation assays are established for RSV. Systems biology approach is supported by RNAseq, mass spectrometry, flow cytometry and luminex cytokine systems. We have capacity to undertake early phase vaccine trials and evaluate vaccine interventions. Further information see