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Grantees Profile

Etienne Bilgo

Country (Nationality)

Burkina Faso

Grantee Title

Project: Innovative vector control strategies using entomopathogenic fungi for safe and reliable control of mosquitoes that transmit malaria and Dengue virus

Grantee Description

Research area:

Vector Borne Diseases

Host Organisation & country:

Institut de Recherche en Sciences de la Santé (IRSS), Burkina Faso


Malaria continues to pose a serious threat in most African countries because of the spread of insecticide resistance. New biocontrol tools like fungal pathogens of mosquitoes have garnered much recent interest because of their potential to kill mosquitoes through direct contact with them.

Using a combination of laboratory and semi-field experiments, Dr. Etienne Bilgo’s research will aim to operationalize vector control tools based on fungi. In addition, during the project Dr. Etienne will analyse stakeholders’ hopes and concerns about these fungi for malaria and dengue control. The current project will give an opportunity to train postgraduate students, young researchers and vector control officers on emerging biotechnologies for vector control.

Grantee Description

Dr Etienne Bilgo is a Senior Postdoctoral Researcher and the International Wellcome Trust Training Fellow from the Joint Parasitology and Medical Entomology lab of IRSS / Centre Muraz in Bobo Dioulasso, Burkina Faso. He obtained his Ph.D. in 2018 in Applied Biological Sciences, Medical Entomology.

Dr Bilgo is focusing his research on emerging mosquito control biotechnologies and their integration to the existing arsenal of vector control strategies against Malaria and Dengue. He has presented his works in international conferences and won international Fellowships, awards.

Project: Innovative vector control strategies using entomopathogenic fungi for safe and reliable control of mosquitoes that transmit malaria and Dengue virus

Additional vector control tools are urgently needed to eradicate Malaria, Dengue and other Vector Borne- Diseases (VBD) in Africa. I recently characterized native strains of entomopathogenic fungi (Metarhizium pingshaense) from Burkina Faso. In bioassays, these fungi showed unprecedented virulence and entomopathogenicity against mosquitoes. This work lays a foundation for innovative fungal-based strategies for safe and reliable VBD control. However, several fundamental and applied questions remain about the practical use of these fungi for vector control.

These are:

1) Many of these local fungi were isolated from mosquitoes. What are the specific strategies they use to overcome mosquitoes? This information will help plan how best to deploy these fungi so that they are effective in the long-term.

2) Can these fungal strains be used synergistically with current vector control tools (i.e., chemical insecticides)?

3) Could Metarhizum strains be combined with other emerging vector control strategies e.g., Wolbachia for Dengue virus control?

4) What are the local stakeholder hopes and concerns about the fungal based strategies for Malaria and Dengue control?

Using a combination of classical and novel approaches, Dr. Etienne BILGO will investigate the practical utility of one or more strains of Burkinabe Metarhizium against the vectors of malaria and dengue. The most significant possible outcome of the current project will be a reduction of malaria and Dengue as a result of interrupting transmission of the target human pathogens.