Burkina Faso

photo from Burkina Faso

Focus: Malaria

Affiliation: Institut de Recherche en Sciences de la Santé, Direction Régionale de l’Ouest (IRSS-DRO)

Contacts: Sunil Parikh

Site and Background: Burkina Faso is among the 20 poorest countries in the world and suffers from among the highest morbidity rates from malaria. The collaboration between the Institut de Recherche en Sciences de la Santé, Direction Régionale de l’Ouest (IRSS-DRO) in Burkina Faso and Prof. Sunil Parikh started in 2004 through different projects on malaria conducted with the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF). With this collaboration, several young scientists have been trained in molecular biology and epidemiology. 

In 2005, Prof. Parikh and Prof. Ouedraogo began collaborating on a pharmacogenomic study in Burkina Faso. These studies were followed by pharmacokinetic and drug efficacy studies of antimalarials, results of which influenced malaria treatment guidelines for the WHO in 2015. In 2012, Prof. Parikh moved to Yale, coincident with the receipt of an NIAID-funded R21 proposal (1R21AI097695-01) entitled “Innate immune responses in populations with differing susceptibility to malaria” conducted by IRSS-DRO and Prof. Ouedraogo in Burkina Faso. Through this new collaboration (IRSS-DRO-Yale University), Dr. Sóme from IRSS-DRO, spent several months at Yale for a laboratory training visit to learn techniques relating to immunologic assays relevant to the R21. 

In addition, Professors Parikh, Ouedrago, and Roch Dabire recently submitted an NIAID-R21 and NIAID-U01 which combines clinical studies with entomological experiments, adding yet another dimension to this collaboration, as the IRSS has an internationally-renowned entomology research program and several insectaries. These new projects also involve growing collaborations with Prof. Brian Foy at Colorado State University, a vector biologist, who has been working with Prof. Dabire for years. Finally, Prof. Parikh has recently submitted an NIAID-R01 clinical trial with Prof. Ouedarogo and Dr. Some aimed at the rational use of antimalarials to reduce the risk of the emergence and spread of ACT resistance. Notably, IRSS has a long history of training researchers at their site from institutions in Europe and other African countries, and has also sent trainees to France, Germany, and the UK. The addition of this site to the GHES will provide the opportunity to bilaterally train researchers in one of the highest malaria-endemic sites in the world.