About MORU

The Mahidol Oxford Tropical Medicine Research Unit (MORU) develops effective and practical means of diagnosing and treating malaria and other neglected diseases such as melioidosis, typhus, TB and leptospirosis.

MORU was established in 1979 as a research collaboration between Mahidol University (Thailand), Oxford University (UK) and the UK’s Wellcome Trust.

MORU’s main office and laboratories are located within the Faculty of Tropical Medicine at Mahidol University in Bangkok, Thailand, with MORU study sites and collaborations across Thailand, Asia and Africa.

MORU is generously supported with significant funding from the Wellcome Trust, our major funding partner. We also receive funding from other trusts and foundations, governments, and multi-lateral donors.

Tropical infectious diseases remain a major cause of death, sickness and economic hardship for millions of people in the developing world. Malaria alone accounts for an estimated one million deaths every year, the majority of victims being young children.  It is estimated that there are over 300 million cases of malaria annually, costing US$12 billion in lost productivity - a huge burden for some of world’s poorest countries and their fragile health systems, economies and populations. Overall approximately half of all deaths in the tropics are related to infectious diseases.

Nearly 60% of the world’s population lives in Asia, where there are major threats to regional and global health. We lack accurate clinical epidemiological information, particularly on the causes of acute febrile illness. The emergence and spread of artemisinin resistance from Cambodia; the scourge of fake and substandard anti-infective drugs; and the possibility of a worldwide human influenza pandemic pose serious risks for the world. MORU is strongly placed to address these problems effectively, and make a significant impact on human health in the region and beyond.

MORU’s biggest achievements to date have been in the field of malaria, in understanding the mechanisms of how the parasite causes disease and how drug resistance develops and spreads, and developing and testing new methods for treating uncomplicated malaria, severe malaria, and malaria in pregnancy. We have a long-term commitment to working with vulnerable communities in high-risk malaria zones, and treat more than 20,000 cases of malaria annually.

MORU’s work in tackling neglected tropical diseases has led to the development of strong and lasting collaborations with governments, hospitals and academic colleagues across the globe, as well as supporting the education and professional development of local health staff, all of which are are key to successfully managing and eliminating dangerous infections.