The release of sterile male Aedes aegypti at Government Quarters Complex in Gelang Patah, Johor, was carried out on 4th February 2021, with the cooperation of the Johor State Health Department. The male Aedes aegypti mosquitoes are sterilized by gamma irradiation. Sterile male mosquitoes will mate with the wild Aedes aegypti female mosquitoes which will result in non viable eggs. This is one of the approach of control of dengue vector, as a measure to reduce dengue cases. This project is headed by Dr Nazni Wasi Ahmad, a senior researcher at the Entomology Unit, Infectious Disease Research Centre, Institute for Medical Research.
DENGUE VECTOR RESEARCH – BIONOMICS, MONITORING AND CONTROL
Research projects on dengue vector focused on bionomics of transgenic Aedes aegypti compared to wild species or other genera of mosquitoes, including observations on the life cycle, hatching eggs, the larvae and adult stages of development, cycle gonotrofics, pupation, mating and survivorship. In addition, survivals of the transgenic Aedes mosquito in the field are tested. The impacts of predation on Toxorynchites against trangenics mosquito are also investigated. Surveillance of Aedes mosquito presence in the university campus in Kuala Lumpur, and in other areas in Kedah, Terengganu, Perak has also been carried out, in which type of reservoir, viruses and GPS location were also recorded.
RESEARCH ON MALARIA VECTOR - BIONOMICS, MONITORING AND CONTROL
Research on vector of malaria in Pahang continues with study on the characteristics of Anopheline mosquito larvae habitat. Grassy puddles were found to be main breeding place. GIS maps for Anopheles maculatus in Kuala Lipis also been developed using the GPS carried out.
RESEARCH FILARIASIS VECTOR- CONTROL AND MONITORING
Detection of elephantiasis disease parasite carried by mosquitoes using molecular techniques has been carried out. The unit is also involved in filariasis elimination programs - for Global Filariasis elimination Programme.
RESEARCH ON JAPANESE ENCEPHALITIS VECTOR - MONITORING AND CONTROL MEASURE DEVELOPMENT
Bionomics of Culex mosquito and other mosquitoes were monitored in swine breeding places and JE cases reported. Vector capacity of several mosquito were studied in the laboratory by "artificial feeding" technique and found several mosquito are potential for JE vectors.
RESEARCH ON OTHER MEDICALLY IMPORTANCE INSECTS - MONITORING, RESISTANCE AND CONTROL
Studies of chikungunya vector have been conducted in three districts of Terengganu. Aedes mosquitoes in three village districts were found negative with chikungunya virus. In addition, screening for arbovirus in wild monkeys have been carried out and so far there is no arbovirus found. Screening for Trypanosoma evansi was conducted on various types of biting flies found on the farm of Universiti Putra Malaysia. Maggot therapy development, especially for treating wounds that are difficult to cure continued and enhanced. In addition, the study also proceed with the identification of forensic PMI (postmortem interval), and various species of flies on the dead monkeys and ecologically different in various places including the home. Identification of forensic fly species in high-rise buildings, as well as identification of antibacterial activity in Lucilia cuprina was also carried out. Collaboration with the Police Department and the hospital, identification of important flies in human corpses were also conducted. Identification for sand flies and coastal biting midge received from various departments, individuals and companies are still ongoing.
RESEARCH BIOLOGICAL CONTROL AGENT- ISOLATION, BIOASSAYS AND FIELD TESTING
Isolation, identification and characterization of Aedes mosquito pheromone continue. Some isolates were identified to be potential as mosquito attractant were tested at laboratory and semi-field. Comparison of two formulations of BTI VectoBac VectoBac WG and 12AS were tested against Aedes aegypti and Culex quinquefasciatus in simulation study. Susceptibility of mosquitoes on Bti WG also investigated. Collaboration with FRIM we also investigate the larvicidal activity of the plant Ocimum tenuiflorum, Citrus hystrix and Citrus aurantifolia on Aedes aegypti and Culex quinquefasciatus.
CHEMICAL RESEARCH - LABORATORY AND FIELD TESTING, TEST ON EQUIPMENT, STUDY ON RESISTANCE
Among the studies, resistance of Anopheline mosquito on insecticides, mosquitoes survival after 24 hours of insecticide sprays made, comparison the effectiveness of cyfluthrin and permethrin insecticides space spray, assessment on IMR Autocidal Trap in Aedes mosquito control, comparison of effectiveness of various types of treated mosquito nets.
MOLECULAR ENTOMOLOGY - MOLECULAR APPROACH IN ENTOMOLOGY STUDY
Detection of malaria parasites, Brugia malayi and Wuchereria bancrofti in mosquitoes by using duplex PCR. PCR technique was also used to detect dengue fever virus and chikungunya in mosquito. Molecular techniques are also used to identify species of forensics importance flies in study of post-mortem interval.
COMMERCIALISATION OF RESEARCH FINDINGS - MOSQUITO CONTROL AGENT, RESISTANCE TEST KIT
Production of a local bacterial isolates to eradicate mosquito, the Bacillus thuringiensis H-14 has been commercialized under the brand name "Mosbac".
A rapid kit to detect resistance status of insecticidal, "IMR Comprehensiv Insecticide Resistance Test Kit" has been successfully commercialized.
Clinical studies "Debridement Maggot Therapy" is the use of local fly maggots, Lucilia cuprina for the treatment of difficult wounds was treated successfully. Production of sterile maggots at commercial scale has been licensed to a local company. This company is now supplying sterile maggots to hospitals for the treatment.
IMR Autocidal Trap has been tested in field and has attracted several companies and is trying to commercialize.