Ntui Vincent Ntui-Njock

H3Africa PI: Alfred Amambua Ngwa

Institution: University of Buea, Southwest Cameroon, MRC at LSHTM The Gambia

Project Affiliation: Genetic interactions between human populations and malaria parasites in different environmental settings across Africa


Introduction: Knowledge of genetic diversity in parasite population will provide an insight in understanding the pathology of parasite infection and parasite clones relevant for the control, prevention, and early parasite detection.

Background: PAMGEN terminal PhD fellow and a graduate teaching assistant, MSc Molecular Biotechnology and BSc Biochemistry with interest in malaria epidemiology, parasite diversity, parasite genetics and drug resistance.

Motivation: Understanding the pathology and genetics of parasite gives more insight in malaria control and elimination measures with implication in pregnancy. During my research, we have tried to address an overly sensitive issue of Malaria in pregnancy malaria.

Objective: This study assessed the prevalence of P. falciparum infection and genetic diversity among pregnant women.

Methodology: Venous blood was collected from Pregnant Women for malaria diagnosis using PfHRP2/pLDH malaria rapid diagnostic kit, microscopy and qPCR following DNA extraction from dried blood spots by Chelex-100 method. P. falciparum allelic polymorphism at merozoite surface protein-2 (MSP2) gene genotyped by nested.

Skill sets: In epidemiology and field survey, malaria parasitology, molecular biology, genetics, genetic data analysis and genomics.

Results: Of the 3085 women enrolled, parasite infection determined by microscopy, RDT and P. falciparum was 12.9%, 17.2% and 62.3% respectively, with 5.3% P. malaria, 3.6% P. Ovale and 8.4% mixed infection and a very low-density infection, averaging 271 parasites per microliter of blood. IPTp-SP use (p=0.007) and dosage (p=0.005) significantly influenced infection status with IPTp-SP non usage identified as independent risk factors.
Averagely, 79.1%(349/441) isolates were scored for IC3D7, 71%(313/441) for FC27, 52.6%(232/441) for both IC3D7/FC27 allelic families and 37%(163/441) polyclonal infection with multiplicity of infection (MOI) index (2.189). Variations in MOI with same Heterozygosity (He) value (0.48) across the sites.

Achievements: As a PAMGENe PhD fellow, I have been able to complete my research project work, gained laboratory, project writing and communication skills, presentations in conference and a publication with two more currently on pipeline.

Acknowledgements/Mentor/Influencers: Dr Tobias O. Apinjoh, Dr Alfred Amambua-Ngwa and Prof Emeritus Vincent P.K. Titanji. University of Buea, and MRC at LSHTM The Gambia. MESA PAMGENe.

Next Steps: Completion of data analysis, thesis write-up, submission for PhD defense and pursue post-doctoral studies.

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