The thematic line on Emergent Diseases and Environmental Changes (EDEC) strengthen the internal and external links of the GHTM groups in an international context of research and dissemination, ranging from molecular epidemiology of infectious diseases to human population factors, including health systems and workers and human driven changes. The EDEC energize complementary research areas and key strategy aspects of GHTM: Ana Tavares to launch in 2017 a biorepository/biobank on infectious diseases; and César Capinha for geographical and environmental disease modelling. A project about urban Malaria in Africa, including social, geographic and vector factors, led by Investigator Patrícia Salgueiro, was selected, through an internal call.
New projects initiated in 2016 address important emergent diseases, such as Zika (ZIKAlliance, EC), focusing on diagnosis and social impact in the community. Other projects address disease prevention, for example by addressing the public perception of the use of genetically modified mosquito vectors of Dengue and Chikungunya viruses (FCT), functional proteomics and genomics of a tick borne disease (FCT), and on the role of microbiota on immunity against Plasmodium (Gates Foundation).
Research outputs in 2016 described epidemiological changes, such as alterations in the genetic diversity of Plasmodium falciparum after Artemisinin-based combination therapy (Antimicrob Agents Chemother 61: e02556-15) and studies of new clinical variants of Borrelia-like bacteria (Infect Genet Evol 40:266-74). We have also studied the relationship between environmental changes on health, such as the impact of the financial crisis on health services in Portugal (Health Policy 120:1079-86), the role of Angola in the spread of HIV (Infect Genet Evol 46:219-222), new possible vectors of leishmaniasis (Parasite 23:55) or the role of Wolbachia in Dirofilaria transmission (Med Vet Entomol 30:301-9). Finally, we have worked on pathogen characterization tools, such as whole genome sequencing in the detection of TB drug resistance (Genome Med. 8:132) and high throughput methods for the molecular epidemiology of Pneumocystis jirovecii (Clin Microbiol Infect 22:566.e9-566), and to overcome drug resistance, such as the role of ion channel blockers against TB (PLoS One 11:e0149326).