WANIDA > Projects > Survey on the determinants of the spread of COVID-19 in rural areas

Objectives :

The ultimate goal of this proposal is to produce a detailed description of the spread of COVID-19 and the unique determinants of its transmission in rural West Africa, where epidemiological data are sorely lacking due to limited healthcare coverage.
Using a low-cost, non-invasive, high-throughput screening method, we will achieve the following results:

  • Investigating the pathways and speed of spread of SARS-CoV-2 in rural West African communities through the collection of blood-fed mosquitoes
  • Assess the presence of antibodies to the virus and the rate of infection in domestic and wild animals, and investigate their putative role as a source of human infection
  • Describe individual and community knowledge and perceptions of COVID-19 and how this affects risk reduction strategies in rural communities.
  • Produce policy briefs to contribute to public health decisions and influence behavior towards COVID-19.


WANIDA > Projects > Survey on the determinants of the spread of COVID-19 in rural areas

The COVID-19 pandemic is causing devastating damage to economies, healthcare systems and societies worldwide. Understanding current patterns of pandemic spread and predicting its long-term trajectory is essential to guide decision-making.

This is particularly important in regions with weak economies and fragile health systems. Data on COVID-19 in several African countries is currently scarce and uncertain, which does not allow for a robust analysis of the current situation. Since the emergence of the disease on the African continent, major attention and responses have been focused on urban areas.

Rural areas, where over 50% of the African population lives, are characterized by a shortage of health workers, poor health structures and limited access to COVID-19 diagnostics. In addition, social distancing and other measures may be difficult to observe in these locations, and the spread of the disease could go unnoticed. It is important that an innovative approach - rapid and infrastructure-based - is developed to investigate the prevalence and spread of COVID-19 in rural areas to guide decision-making.

We propose an innovative, safe, non-invasive, high-throughput surveillance system for COVID-19 infections based on blood-fed mosquito sampling as a proxy for human sampling. Female mosquitoes need a blood meal to produce eggs. This blood contains sufficient quantities of antibodies to reliably indicate a recent immune response to coronavirus.

The use and durability of antibody detection from mosquito bloodmeals with ELISA is well established as it has been used for host typing of bloodmeals and detection of anti-viral antibodies.

Partners involved :


Researchers :

  • Prof. Abdoulaye DIABATE, ACE-ITECH-MTV, Burkina Faso

Financing : WANIDA

For further information: Olivia Koupaki, WANIDA Network Coordinator: