The MalariaControl.net project, which models the epidemiology and natural history of the malaria parasite, has over the last couple of months, transitioned into a new phase of the project.
In a statement by Nicholas Marie, a senior project computer scientist at the Swiss Tropical Institute in Basel, Switzerland, he says that “We have received funding from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation for two more years”. This funding will be a major boost for the malariacontrol.net project and should allow many new developments in the stochastic simulation approach to modeling the spread of malaria in Africa.
Here’s a short overview of what this new project phase will focus on:
|Nicholas Marie, a senior project computer scientist at the Swiss Tropical Institute in Basel, Switzerland|
- New models for natural immunity
- Simulating the dynamics of antimalarial drug resistance in complex clinical settings
- Simulating situations where people vary a lot in their exposure patterns to malaria
- Simulating malaria in situations where it is close to being eliminated
And finally, there is a recognized need to make the simulation models more accessible to the intended target audience: Policy makers and planners of malaria control interventions. For this, the malariacontrol.net scientists have started to collaborate with the Network Dynamics and Simulation Science Laboratory (NDSSL) at the Virginia Bioinformatics Institute (Virginia Tech). The goal is to develop a job submission system to give qualified users an opportunity to use model predictions in their decision making process.
One of the main reason for malariacontrol.net being less active in recent months is that their main focus has been on application development. Nicholas Marie says “As mentioned before, we are getting closer to the point where we can release the new C++ implementation of the simulation model as our main application”. “We are now hosting the source code of the science application on Google code: http://code.google.com/p/openmalaria/ “. He goes on to say that “We anticipate that the new implementation will be ready by the end of June”.
|In sub-Saharan Africa Malaria kills 3000 young children every day. That’s 125 children every hour or 2 children every minute of the day!|
Some new members have joined the project team at the Swiss Tropical Institute. Diggory Hardy has recently joined the team. Diggory is a software engineer with a Bachelor of Science degree in mathematics from University of Warwick in the UK. He will be mainly working on the further development of the science application.
The analysis of the results from a simulation study, that was run by volunteers on their computers late last year, has shown that there is a need to run additional scenarios of the same type. The project scientists have created and uploaded the first of these new batches of work units to run with the stable version of the science application (the Fortran version). It is anticipated that it will take a couple of weeks to go through all the work units so many more volunteers will be needed to run the simulations on their computers.
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