A scientific report has just been published by the Sorbonne University teams on the use of AI and the prediction of malaria transmission. It is a collaboration between the Institut Pierre-Louis d'Epidémiologie et de Santé Publique (IPLESP) and the Laboratoire d'Informatique Médicale et d'Ingénierie des Connaissances pour la e-Santé (LIMICS). This work associates Sorbonne University, Inserm, AP-HP and the Groupe Hospitalier Pitié-Salpêtrière (Parasitology-Mycology Service).
Vector control programmes are a strategic priority in the fight against malaria. However, vector control interventions require rigorous monitoring. Entomological tools for characterizing malaria transmission drivers are limited and are difficult to establish in the field. To predict Anopheles drivers of malaria transmission, such as mosquito age, blood feeding and Plasmodium infection, we evaluated artificial neural networks (ANNs) coupled to matrix-assisted laser desorption ionization-time of flight (MALDI-TOF) mass spectrometry (MS) and analysed the impact on the proteome of laboratory-reared Anopheles stephensi mosquitoes. ANNs were sensitive to Anopheles proteome changes and specifically recognized spectral patterns associated with mosquito age (0–10 days, 11–20 days and 21–28 days), blood feeding and P. berghei infection, with best prediction accuracies of 73%, 89% and 78%, respectively. This study illustrates that MALDI-TOF MS coupled to ANNs can be used to predict entomological drivers of malaria transmission, providing potential new tools for vector control. Future studies must assess the field validity of this new approach in wild-caught adult Anopheles. A similar approach could be envisaged for the identification of blood meal source and the detection of insecticide resistance in Anopheles and to other arthropods and pathogens.