Luís Amaral

MSc Student
luis.amaral20 [at]

With a background in microbiology, Luís has a keen interest in infectious diseases. He is currently undertaking a project about onchocerciasis in Togo under the supervision of Professor María-Gloria Basáñez. Onchocerciasis undermines the health and economy of endemic communities. Before any intervention, Togo was a country comprised of foci ranging from hypoendemic to holoendemic. Within the Onchocerciasis Control Program (OCP), the nation started to control onchocerciasis transmission with aerial larviciding vector control, followed by ivermectin mass drug administration (MDA). Nowadays, advances towards the elimination of transmission (EoT) are mainly made through ivermectin mass drug administration (MDA).

Luís project aims are to simulate infection trends (prevalence of O. volvulus microfilariae) through time in 5 regions of Togo: Savanes, Kara, Centrale, Plateaux & Maritime according to their different history of control. If possible, also predict when the country will achieve EoT and identify areas that can begin to assess whether they can stop ivermectin MDA or need alternative treatment strategies (ATSs) to achieve EoT. Plausible ATSs may be ground-based vector control, use of moxidectin MDA and anti-Wolbachia therapies. The project is being performed using the individual-based, stochastic EPIONCHO-IBM model.

Luís also has an interest in loiasis, caused by the filarial parasite Loa loa, an increasingly recognised public health challenge in Central Africa.