During the first two weeks of February we saw a lot of activity as malariacontrol.net was chosen to be the project for the 3. Team Charity contest. A big thank you to the administrators of L`Alliance Francophone and Team SETI.Germany, who organized the contest! And of course also to all those who participated!
This performance boost came at the right time, while we are trying to estimate model parameters for a whole family of models. Valerie explained the rationale for looking at different models in her post a few months ago.
The process of parameter estimation has been described earlier in the posts here and here.
You can see the current status of this optimization process in the image below, where each individual plot corresponds to one of the models Valerie mentions:
You can come back here if you are interested in the progress of this over the next few months: the plots are re-generated once per day.
In the meantime, we published another scientific article, which discusses predictions of the simulation models:
Smith TA, Chitnis N, Briët OJ, Tanner M.
Uses of mosquito-stage transmission-blocking vaccines against Plasmodium falciparum.
Trends Parasitol. 2011 Jan 27. [Epub ahead of print]
Here is the summary, you can contact us if you would like to receive a PDF version of the complete article.
A quantitative framework is used to explore the potential applications and probable effects of sexual stage or mosquito stage transmission blocking vaccines (TBVs) against malaria. The combination of TBVs with biocides or other malaria vaccines will increase chances of interrupting transmission, whereas the value of TBVs for morbidity control will be limited. Vaccine combination will also protect against selection of insensitive parasites. Simulations indicate that TBVs will reduce risks of reestablishment of transmission when vector control is withdrawn.
Simple mathematical analysis shows that efficacy and coverage are equally important, implying that a vaccine that requires a small number of doses (ideally one) is preferable to one that is difficult to deliver, even if this entails accepting a lower efficacy.
Thank you for your ongoing support!
On behalf of the project team,
Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute