Team Gambia at the 64th ASTMH Annual Meeting

The 64th Annual American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene (ASTMH) Meeting took place in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA on October 25 to 29 2015. This year’s meeting featured 182 sessions, including plenary, symposia, scientific, poster, late-breaker and meet-the-professors sessions, and two speed-networking sessions. The three topics most covered by the sessions were malaria, global health, and virology.

In line with The Unit’s vision to save lives and improve health, ASTMH’s vision of a world free of tropical infectious diseases attracted more than 4000 participants representing over 100 countries from the field of tropical medicine, global health, infectious diseases, policy making, funding/donor agencies, and pharmaceutical industries.

Professor Umberto D’Alessandro at the meeting while being presented by Dr Mary Hamel (CDC, Atlanta) (centre) with the Charles C. Shepard Science Award, an award presented to the best manuscript on original research. Prof D’Alessandro was part of the team that carried out the phase 3 RTS,S malaria vaccine trial whose results were published in PLoS Medicine in 2014. The award was also presented to the Clinical Research Unit Nanoro, Burkina Faso represented by Dr Innocent Valea (far left)

Professor Umberto D’Alessandro at the meeting while being presented by Dr Mary Hamel (CDC, Atlanta) (centre) with the Charles C. Shepard Science Award, an award presented to the best manuscript on original research. Prof D’Alessandro was part of the team that carried out the phase 3 RTS,S malaria vaccine trial whose results were published in PLoS Medicine in 2014. The award was also presented to the Clinical Research Unit Nanoro, Burkina Faso represented by Dr Innocent Valea (far left)

A team of 12 scientists from the MRC Unit The Gambia led by The Unit Director, Professor Umberto D’alessandro were in attendance at the meeting. Two scientists from MRC Unit The Gambia won the prestigious ASTMH Travel awards and were recognised at the opening ceremony. Professor D’Alessandro was part of a panel of eminent scientists who presented the current advances on dihydroartemisinin/piperaquine for the treatment of uncomplicated malaria.

Members of staff from MRC Unit The Gambia, made oral and poster scientific presentations on recent findings in malaria vaccines, insecticide resistance, molecular and genomic studies, to mention a few. Dr Joseph Okebe shared the in-country perspective on the efficacy of low-dose primaquine in asymptomatic malaria carriers in The Gambia. In another scientific session, he presented the preliminary findings of the trial on ‘Primaquine’s gametocytocidal efficacy in malaria asymptomatic carriers treated with dihydroartemisinin-piperaquine in The Gambia (PRINOGAM).

Staff also took part in various symposiums and discussion sessions focused on advances in molecular diagnostics in global infectious diseases, neglected tropical diseases, vector-borne diseases, emerging infections like Ebola and mentoring sessions on strategies to succeed in global health career.

According to Dr. Rajiv Shah who gave the annual keynote address: ‘Now is the time to focus on the malaria endgame, and going after the very last guinea worm cases, investing in basic packages of service for children, and striving for nothing less than creating a world where nearly every child lives to experience their 5th birthday’.

“The international standing of The Unit and the high quality of its research is shown by the number of scientific presentations and posters selected for the ASTMH Annual Meeting. The meeting has also provided the opportunity of networking with existing and potential scientific partners” said Professor Umberto D’Alessandro (Unit Director).

More about American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene (ASTMH) on https://www.astmh.org/Home.htm