Thursday, 29 June 2017

Resources and Facilities

Diagnostics, genotyping, mosquito colonies insectary

The division has a molecular biology set up for basic PCR-based diagnostics on vector species identification, Kdr insecticide resisitance and malaria parasite infectivity. Additionally, there is capacity to alternatively detect vector parasite infectivity immunologically using sporozoite ELISAs. Molecular genotyping with markers such as microsatellites and SNPs for population studies has been introduced.

Several strains of Aedes aegypti and an Aedes vitattus colony are maintained. The UVRI insectary also has an animal handling chamber for parasite and virus transmission studies. However this insectary is old and in need of urgent renovation.

Zika Forest is a field station 

Found along Entebbe-Kampala road, approximately 9 miles from the institute. The forest has a great diversity of forest types, forest edge types, grasslands and swamps stretching into Lake Victoria. The forest covers and estimated area of 12 hectares. A 120 ft steel research tower, previously situated in the Mpanga forest, was in 1962 moved to Zika forest with a generous grant from the World Health Organization. Extensive behavioural and ecological studies have been carried out on this tower located within the forest. 

Various projects on birds, insects including mosquitoes, tabanid flies, moths, butterflies have been carried out in the forest. Zika is very rich in biodiversity with over 135 of woody plants, about 38 saturniid and 62 sphingid moths and about 40 species of mosquitoes. The institute is renowned for the numerous viral isolations, including yellow fever, that were identified in the forest. Zika almost remains an intact forest having survived the political turmoil of the 1960s and 1980s. Schools and Universities use it for ecological studies. Tourists use it for bird watching. 

The most prominent visitor to Zika forest is the former president of the United States, Jimmy Carter who came on a bird watching tour..

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