Virtual Entomol8: Science for the population’s health

Publicação: 6 de August de 2021

Virtual workshop discusses advances in studies of neglected tropical disease vectors

Entomol addresses genetics, molecular biology and the control of insect vectors and focuses on research on vectors involved in diseases such as arboviruses, malaria, leishmaniasis, filariasis and Chagas disease

The pandemic arrived without warning, without asking for permission, and no one could have imagined the public, economic and social health crisis we would face on a global scale. At first, the situation reminded us of the title of an Adriana Calcanhoto album: “Nada Ficou no Lugar” [Nothing remained where it was]. But the pandemic brought lessons and with it a new form of learning and debating: the virtual events. The online events held during this period have promoted the exchange of knowledge and the appreciation of science. And so, the 8th Workshop on Genetics and Molecular Biology of Tropical Disease Vector Insects (Entomol8) will be held virtually and simultaneously with the 56th Congress of the Brazilian Society of Tropical Medicine (MEDTROP Play 2021), which will be held between October 25th and 28th.

Conceived and led by Dr. Sinval Pinto Brandão Filho, former president of the Brazilian Society of Tropical Medicine (SBMT) and former director of the Aggeu Magalhães Institute (IAM/Fiocruz), together with colleagues from the IAM and researchers from other institutions in Brazil, Entomol approaches genetics , molecular biology and control of vector insects and focuses on research on insects involved in diseases such as filariasis, arboviruses, malaria, leishmaniasis, schistosomiasis and Chagas disease. The event is a forum that aims to disseminate advances in research into vector insects, produced by reference groups in Brazil and abroad, and promote high-level scientific discussions on tropical diseases with an impact on public health.

Dr. Brandão Filho explains that the event also intends to meet the growing demand for training undergraduate and graduate students in the Northeast region, as well as contributing to the professional updating of researchers already working in areas related to the event’s central theme. Also according to him, the program should provide the interest of the participation of technicians involved in the elaboration and execution of health surveillance services in vector control programs at the municipal, state and federal levels. “In addition, the event contributes to the strengthening and integration of research groups involved with this theme in Brazil and, especially, in the Northeast Region, helping the development and technological innovation in this field of knowledge, which has a direct relationship with public development policies developed by the Ministries of Science, Technology and Innovation and of Health”, he emphasizes.

The use of molecular biology tools in the study of vector insects has been increasingly widespread among researchers all over the world, resulting in the emergence of more specific and effective control alternatives. However, according to Dr. Brandão Filho, despite the remarkable expansion of this field in Brazil, it is believed that the number of researchers properly trained to carry out these works is still limited, determining the need for training and training of human resources in the areas that permeate the so-called Molecular Entomology. For him, the realization of Entomol8 will contribute to the process of professional improvement of research groups working in this area of knowledge in Brazil.

Diseases transmitted by hematophagous insects affect thousands of people each year and represent a serious public health problem in Brazil. Until recently, insect-transmitted disease control programs focused on the development of therapeutic and diagnostic methods that, in general, have not impeded the expansion of endemic areas in recent years. “We have observed a growing interest from health surveillance agencies in the design of control strategies based on combating transmitting insects. But, for these methods to reach the desired level of efficacy, it is essential to have a deep knowledge about the biology of these organisms, as well as the delicate mechanisms of interaction with the etiological agents they transmit”, emphasizes Dr. Brandão Filho.

With a program that includes conferences on strategic themes and oral presentations, the event is aimed at researchers, technicians, professionals in health surveillance services and undergraduate and graduate students working in the areas of biology, biochemistry, physiology, genetics, molecular biology, bioinformatics and public health in the study of vector insects. Check the Entomol8 Virtual schedule here. The first edition of Entomol took place in 2004 and, since then, the event takes place biannually. “There were seven editions carried out with great success, meeting a demand from research groups in medical entomology in Brazil, which need a scientific forum specifically dedicated to vector insects. The most recent editions also had the partnership of the “Society of Vector Ecology (SOVE Brasil), which fostered the internationalization of the event”, recalls Dr. Brandão Filho. Entomol has been supported by the organizing institutions (FIOCRUZ, UFPE, INCT-Molecular Entomology, SOVE) in addition to funding agencies (CNPq, CAPES, FACEPE).

In addition to the Workshop on Genetics and Molecular Biology of Tropical Disease Vector Insects (Entomol8), the VIII National Workshop of the Brazilian Network for Research on Tuberculosis REDE-TB, the meeting on applied research ChagasLeish, the Brazilian Social Forum on Coping with Infectious and Neglected Diseases and first COVID-19 forum. These satellite events, which take place simultaneously with the Annual Congress of the Brazilian Society of Tropical Medicine, expand public participation and enable the integration of research groups. They represent an excellent opportunity for participants to exchange their expertise, debate and interact in partnerships with areas and collaborative projects. In the MEDTROP PLAY activities, 16 short courses, 24 conferences, 72 round tables and the presentation of free themes are also planned.