Land Rover Discovery SUV Built To Fight Malaria in Africa

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Since 1948 Land Rover has been manufacturing authentic 4x4s across its 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.

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.

The Mobile Malaria Project will use the Discovery to transport three Oxford University researchers on a 3,914-mile journey across Namibia, Zambia, Tanzania, and Kenya. The team will work with local research centers, using onboard equipment to study malaria parasite and mosquito populations, according to a Land Rover press release. they will also look at factors like drug and insecticide resistance.

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To achieve this, Land Rover Special Vehicle Operations designed and developed a Land Rover Discovery SUV 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.

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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.

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“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,” Dr. George Busby, Mobile Malaria Project expedition leader, said in a statement. “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.”

The Mobile Malaria Project won the 2018 Land Rover Bursary, a prize awarded annually in concert with the Royal Geographical Society. The bursary gives funding and use of a Land Rover vehicle to a group undertaking an expedition that requires such an off-road vehicle.

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