Mosquitoes transmit a variety of infectious diseases that cause a tremendous burden to public health. Due to climate changes and to the increase in international trade and tourism the threats posed by mosquitoes are increasingly affecting large parts of Europe, causing understandable concerns among the populations of many Member States. Control methods, mainly based on insecticide usage, are struggling to cope with the challenges posed by the biology and ecology of mosquito vectors.
INFRAVEC aims at bridging the gap between the recent advances in transgenic technology and its implementation as a novel powerful approach for vector control. To this aim, a large European Infrastructure will be established, in which the coordination of efforts, expertise and facilities provided by the individual research groups and institutions will bolster and considerably expand the overall research capabilities of the research community.
INFRAVEC will operate, through a number of Networking, Joint Research, Transnational and Service activities, towards the objective of considerably strengthening research capability in Europe by sharing knowledge, resources and technology. INFRAVEC will mainly focus on Anopheles gambiae, the major vector of malaria, and Aedes albopictus, a viral disease vector that is rapidly spreading through Europe.
Four Infrastructure facilities will be integrated in the project:
1) the Genetically Modified mosquito laboratory of Imperial College London;
2) the Mosquito Mass-rearing facility at the Centro Agricoltura ed Ambiente (with the support of the International Atomic Energy Agency);
3) the Bioinformatics facility at EMBLEBI, UK; and
4) the Mosquito Confined Release facility at ISRIM.
INFRAVEC will provide a formidable research capability to external users and facilitate the performance of five research projects aimed at utilizing basic knowledge of mosquito genetics and biology in an unprecedented effort to develop novel opportunities for mosquito control.