MOBILE MALARIA PROJECT EMBARKS ON JOURNEY OF DISCOVERY

20 March 2019

Land Rover is working with the Mobile Malaria Project, winners of the 2018 Land Rover Bursary in partnership with the Royal Geographical Society (with IBG), as it heads to sub-Saharan Africa to embark on a unique eight-week journey of Discovery.

  • Land Rover Bursary awarded to the ‘Mobile Malaria Project’
  • Driving a modified Land Rover Discovery, eight-week expedition will travel through Namibia, Zambia, Tanzania and Kenya
  • Land Rover Bursary is awarded annually in association with the Royal Geographical Society (with IBG) – Land Rover’s longest standing humanitarian and conservation partner
  • Oxford University researchers with portable laboratory equipment will work with African scientists to learn about the challenges facing malaria research and investigate the potential of portable DNA sequencing technology
  • Project vehicle enhanced by Land Rover Special Vehicle Operations in celebration of 30 years of Discovery as the most capable full-sized premium SUV

Land Rover has been engineering vehicles capable of tackling the toughest terrain around the world for more than 70 years. Now it is working with the Mobile Malaria Project, winners of the 2018 Land Rover Bursary in partnership with the Royal Geographical Society (with IBG), as it heads to sub-Saharan Africa to embark on a unique eight-week journey of Discovery.

Made up of three Oxford University researchers, led by Dr George Busby, the Mobile Malaria Project will travel more than 6,300km across Namibia, Zambia, Tanzania and Kenya. Driving a specially-modified Land Rover Discovery, they will investigate the challenges facing those on the front line of malaria control in Africa – where 90 per cent of the world’s cases occur.

Designed and developed by Land Rover Special Vehicle Operations, the Discovery is equipped with a mobile genetic sequencing laboratory that makes full-use of the vehicle’s 1,137-litre load space. Not only does it feature a fridge/freezer unit to safely store scientific supplies, there is also a bespoke load space configuration frame system with specially-designed storage equipment cases and an on-board expedition battery.

The exterior comes with bespoke additions too, including a purpose-built dual sun awning, rescue equipment, a winch, sand/mud tracks, expedition roof rack and LED night driving lamps.

These modifications will allow the team to trial portable DNA sequencing technology, in collaboration with African research centres, to better understand how the technology can be used in different locations. This will provide important information about malaria parasite and mosquito populations, including drug and insecticide resistance.
 

The loan of the Discovery not only gives us the capability we need to visit locations we might not have been able to reach otherwise, it gives us the space and versatility to transport the equipment we need. This will allow us to gain a better understanding of how this technology could be used to answer locally relevant questions about malaria parasites and the mosquitoes that transmit them

Dr George Busby
Mobile Malaria Project Expedition Leader

The Land Rover Discovery has a 30-year track record of tackling the most difficult terrain, reaching threatened habitats and vulnerable people across the world. Equipped with the latest all-terrain capability technology, the vehicle will allow the team to travel with confidence – no matter the conditions they face.

We are humbled that Land Rover and the Royal Geographical Society (with IBG) have chosen our project as the 2018 bursary winner. Although global malaria rates have halved over the past 20 years, progress more recently has stalled. By working with colleagues in Namibia, Zambia, Tanzania and Kenya, our journey will help us to understand the challenges facing malaria researchers in Africa in 2019.

Dr George Busby
Mobile Malaria Project Expedition Leader

MOBILE MALARIA PROJECT EMBARKS ON JOURNEY OF DISCOVERY

Malaria is a global issue which impacts millions of people worldwide. At Jaguar Land Rover we are passionate about using our technology to empower talent and enable experts in their field to make a real difference in our world. Through the bespoke technology developed by our Special Vehicle Operations team, this project has the potential to deliver a real insight into malaria control globally and I am proud that Land Rover can be a part of that journey

Dr Steve Iley
Chief Medical Officer, Jaguar Land Rover

The expedition group has also teamed up with another of Land Rover’s global humanitarian partners, what3words, to accurately plan their route, navigate on the ground and document their findings in real-time.

The Mobile Malaria Project will depart the UK on 22 March to begin its eight-week expedition. More information about the journey can be found on the Mobile Malaria Project website:  https://mobilemalaria.com/

MOBILE MALARIA PROJECT EMBARKS ON JOURNEY OF DISCOVERY WITH LAND ROVER AND THE ROYAL GEOGRAPHICAL SOCIETY (WITH IBG)

Further information

About the Mobile Malaria Project
As winners of the 2018 Land Rover Bursary, Dr George Busby from the University of Oxford's Big Data Institute, Jason Hendry and Dr Isaac Ghinai will drive 6,300km across Africa in March 2019 to document current innovations and challenges in eliminating malaria – a parasitic infectious disease transmitted between humans by mosquitoes.

Using a specially modified Land Rover Discovery, and working with local scientists in Namibia, Zambia, Tanzania and Kenya, the team aim to improve understanding of questions relevant to African scientists. The work performed by the Mobile Malaria Project will lay the foundations for understanding how to build capacity for African-based scientists to generate genetic information on parasite and mosquito populations. In the future, this data has the potential to be used to identify and contain resistance to antimalarial drugs – one of the greatest threats to controlling the disease.

Notes to Editors

About the Land Rover Bursary
The Land Rover Bursary was first awarded by the Royal Geographical Society (with IBG) in 2007, offering funding and the use of a Land Rover vehicle, as part of a partnership that stretches back more than 35 years. The bursary is awarded every year to an enthusiastic team who undertake a journey for which a Land Rover is integral, to promote a wider understanding and enjoyment of geography and to take the recipients beyond their normal limits and boundaries.

About Land Rover
Since 1948 Land Rover has been manufacturing authentic 4x4s that represent true 'breadth of capability' across the model range. Defender, Discovery, Discovery Sport, Range Rover, Range Rover Sport, Range Rover Velar and Range Rover Evoque each define the world's SUV sectors, with 80 per cent of this model range exported to over 100 countries.

About the Royal Geographical Society (with IBG)
The Royal Geographical Society (with IBG; Institute of British Geographers) is the learned society and professional body for geography. Formed in 1830 for 'the advancement of geographical science', today we deliver this objective through developing, supporting and promoting geographical research, expeditions and fieldwork, education, public engagement, and geography input to policy. The Society aims to foster an understanding and informed enjoyment of our world. The RGS-IBG holds the world's largest private geographical collection and provides public access to it. www.rgs.org