|The RITM Filariasis Research Program started in 1994 under the
initiative of Dr. Bernadette dL. Libranda-Ramirez and who is now at the Department of
Biochemistry, College of Medicine, University of the Philippines, Manila. The program was
established with the following objectives: 1) to re-assess the filariasis situation in the
Philippines; 2) to develop new technologies for the detection of microfilaremic cases in
the field; and 3) to do in-depth study of mosquito vector biology. The initial funding
support for this program was obtained through a grant from the US-NIH Tropical Medicine
Research Center (TMRC). Visiting scientists from the University of Michigan, namely: Dr.
Michael Kron and Dr. Edward Walker came to the Philippines to join the rest of the TMRC
investigators in tropical disease research.
The work that had been started were: 1) Studies of lymphatic filariasis in Sorsogon, Philippines which covered the towns of Irosin and Aņog in the Bicol Region involving clinical examination of cases, blood film surveys, mosquito vector studies and socio-economic surveys; 2) Evaluation of diagnostic tests for the detection of microfilaremia comparing the use of QBC technique (using acridine-orange), thick blood film, nucleopore filtration and ELISA;
3) Determination of immunoglobulin allotype phenotypes determining the frequencies of homozygotes and heterozygotes and the possible relationship to antigen specific immunoglobulin responses corollary to clinical disease; and 4) Moquito vector studies involving vector density determinations in abaca and banana leaf axils including vectors biting behavior as well as studies on patterns of vectorial capacity.
The work that is now planned for this program will focus on vector biology and the application of GIS in determining the spatial pattern of the vector in relation to household clusters, geophysical changes and changes brought about by farming or occupational practices. Much of what is being prepared is the laying down of foundation of entomological expertise prior to any vector and spatial studies.