Over 200 delegates travelled from more than 50 countries to attend the first ever conference on Medicine Quality and Public Health (MQPH 2018) in Oxford from 23-28 Sept. The conference, at Keble College, brought together experts in pharmacy, public health, chemistry, law, sociology, governance and ethics, from medicines regulatory authorities, academia, pharmaceutical industry, NGOs, and international organisations.
Posted 09/02/2021. Wirichada Pan-ngum and colleagues address key knowledge gaps on human-animal-water-source interactions and leptospirosis in high-risk settings, Thailand. Water-source sharing networks and human–animal contact patterns are key information potentially involved in the epidemiology of leptospirosis. Occupations related to animals/environmental water and consuming water from more than two sources increased the risk exposure to leptospirosis.
Posted 18/12/2020. Lorenz Von Seidlein and colleagues observed that poorest people in rural Tanzania were the oldest people and especially old people without children. This observation came as a surprise because generation, the baby boomers has accumulated wealth throughout life and ended up wealthier by the time they reached retirement. There is a need to provide more financial and housing security for older people in rural Africa. Currently for many older people in rural Africa the only security are their children.
Posted 11/12/2020. COVID-19 has hit informal urban settlements particularly hard. The control and prevention of COVID-19 in slums starts with organizing community infrastructure, provision of basic needs and protection of people at highest risk. Slums are a source for persistent transmission. In view of the constant risk that slums present to the entire population decisive steps need to be taken to rehabilitate and improve informal settlements, Lorenz Von Seidlein and colleagues provide suggestions.
Posted 08/10/2020. “No bacterial culture, no drug-resistant infections.” Cherry Lim, Direk Limmathurotsakul and colleagues show that the impact of low blood culture utilization on the observed proportions and incidences of drug-resistant infections could be high. This is likely happening in most of LMICs. A set of recommendations are proposed.
Posted 01/12/2020. This paper confirms that research is important to inform evidence-based medical care in LMICs settings. Napat Khirikoekkong, Phaik Yeong Cheah and colleagues found that migrants living along the Thai-Myanmar border, who were traditionally deemed vulnerable, exercise their agency and resourcefulness when navigating through their daily challenges, and participating in important health research
Posted 24/11/2020. Malaria Screener is a smartphone application developed by the National Library of Medicine, in partnership with Richard Maude and colleagues at MORU Epidemiology, aiming to improve the availability of high quality malaria diagnosis. It is cheap, fast and easy-to-use with a standard smartphone and microscope and detects malaria parasites by machine learning.
Posted 13/11/2020. Use of antimicrobials in animals and the environment has been established to contribute to the global antimicrobial resistance (AMR), and yet there have been inadequate collaborative efforts to tackle this problem. Sunil Pokharel, Bipin Adhikari and colleagues discuss how and why ‘One health’ approach is important to tackle antimicrobial resistance.
Posted 10/11/20. Artemisinin-based combination therapies are not only effectively curing malaria, they also impact male malaria parasites in their capacity for onward transmission to the mosquito. Here, Andrea Ruecker and colleagues provide clear evidence that artemisinin resistant parasites overcome this sterilising effect to successfully infect mosquitoes under drug pressure, facilitating the spread of artemisinin resistance.
Posted 13/10/2020. Xin Hui Chan and colleagues summarise their rapid reviews on the efficacy of personal protective equipment for preventing COVID-19 in primary and community care. They highlight how PPE is designed for use as an ensemble, is a complex intervention which should include appropriate training and support, and is the least effective of the hierarchy of controls.
Posted 07/10/2020. The Asia-Pacific region is the epicentre of the emergence of resistance against frontline antimalarials, and also faces a high proportion of non-falciparum malaria. Sarah Auburn and colleagues review novel approaches for molecular surveillance that can help track drug resistant parasites and the spread of parasites across the region, discussed at a recent APMEN workshop in Jakarta, and how these approaches can provide important information for policy makers in malaria-endemic regions.
Posted 22/09/2020. This case-control study, conducted by Direk Limmathurotsakul and colleagues in Thailand, shows that wearing masks all the time, maintaining >1 m distance, having close contact for <15 minutes, and frequent handwashing are independently associated with lower risk for SARS-CoV-2 infection (COVID-19)
Posted 18/09/2020. New findings by Ric Price and colleagues highlight that a remarkably high number of P. vivax infections arise from relapses (reactivation of dormant liver stages). This has important implications since almost 85% of recurrent infections could be prevented if more patients were treated with primaquine. The study emphasises the important of work done by the VxWG (Vivax Working Group for the Asia Pacific Malaria Eliminiation Network) in promoting wider access to safe and effective radical cure.
Posted 25/08/2020. With renewed interest in chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine, much has recently been written and published about the risk of haemolysis in G6PD deficient individuals. William Schilling and colleagues believe many have overlooked the wealth of data which already exists about this very issue. Here presented is an overview of the long-accrued evidence (as well as that from recent COVID-19 publications) that chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine do not induce haemolysis in G6PD deficiency.
Posted 16/04/2019. Lorenz Von Seidlein and colleagues in Thailand, Myanmar, Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos explored what happens to malaria transmission when all people residing in a village are treated with antimalarials at the same time, whether they are sick or not. They demonstrated that providing the necessary information is important, but building trust between residents and the team providing the antimalarials is most critical for success.
Posted 09/07/2019. On behalf of the Cambodian Ministry of Health Technical Working Group on Antimicrobial Resistance, Paul Turner and colleagues at COMRU recently led a review of published data on AMR in Cambodia. Significant AMR was identified in a range of priority pathogens although data were limited. On-going national AMR surveillance will address this data gap.
Posted 31/05/2019. Drug-resistant infections caused by Enterobacteriaceae, a family of Gram-negative bacteria, account for a high and increasing disease burden amongst hospitalised neonates in Southeast Asia; carbapenem-resistant strains are particularly important because of limited antibiotic treatment options. Tamalee Roberts and colleagues found that nearly two thirds of infants in a neonatal unit in Thailand became asymptomatic carriers with carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae during their hospital stays. This work indicates a critical need for interventions to reduce this usually hidden reservoir of drug-resistant bacteria.
Posted 15/01/2019. Dr Thomal Althaus and colleagues managed to reduce antibiotic prescription using the C-reactive protein (CRP) test among 2,410 children and adults presented with a fever in primary care centres in Thailand & Myanmar. The perspective of a rapid and affordable test for CRP, identifying febrile patients who really need an antibiotic, is now possible!
Posted 19/02/2019. Germana Bancone and colleagues characterized glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase deficiency in over 10 thousand samples collected in 138 villages in Cambodia, Lao PDR, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam, showing a country-level prevalence in males ranging from 7.3% to 18.8%. Given this high prevalence, G6PD testing should be carried out in the Greater Mekong Subregion before P. vivax radical cure with 8-aminoquinolines.
Posted 26/03/19. Lorenz Von Seidlein and colleagues wanted to know whether well-resourced mass drug administrations (MDA) can accelerate malaria elimination in the Greater Mekong Subregion. They randomised 16 villages in Myanmar, Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos to receive MDAs with antimalarial drugs. The intervention had a substantial impact on the prevalence of P. falciparum infections by month 3 after the start of the MDAs. Over the subsequent 9 months, P. falciparum infections returned but stayed below baseline levels.
Posted 16/07/2019. Worrying nutritional trends in possibly the longest and largest cohort of nearly 50,000 refugee and migrant pregnant women in a LMIC setting. Ahmar Hashmi and colleagues at SMRU summarise trends in under- and over-nutrition among pregnant women, and show a double burden of malnutrition in these marginalised and vulnerable communities from the Myanmar-Thailand border.
Congratulations to everyone involved in contributing to FIEBRE’s success - the clinical and laboratory staff, hospital, participants and local communities. The team has continued working throughout the COVID-19 epidemic despite national restrictions which slowed down enrolment and limited field activities.
The University of Oxford has awarded CTMGH two new Professors. Elisabeth Ashley - UK-trained physician who specialises in infectious diseases and medical microbiology & virology, and Director of the Lao-Oxford-Mahosot Hospital-Wellcome Trust Research Unit (LOMWRU) in Lao PDR since 2019, Liz is conferred the title of Professor of Tropical Medicine. Stuart Blacksell - Senior Research Scientist based at the Mahidol-Oxford Tropical Medicine Research Unit (MORU) in Thailand, Stuart is conferred the title of Professor of Tropical Microbiology.
A series of articles that set out to explore the global distribution of infections that cause non-malarial febrile illness has been published in BMC Medicine. The series brings together the results of large-scale systematic reviews of the causes of fever in Africa, Latin America, and Southern and South-Eastern Asia, and has helped identify major knowledge gaps, geographical differences, priority areas for diagnostics research and development, and enabled the most comprehensive systematic review of literature to date.
We are delighted to announce that Professor Paul Newton has won the Helen-Clark-JoPPP Award for Pharmaceutical Policy and Practice Research. This award is based on the scientific merit of his work, as well as its impact on patients, decisions makers, and on governments. It recognizes the talents of exceptional researchers who are making a significant contribution to the field of pharmaceutical policy and practice.
IDDO and MORU released its Medicine Quality Scientific Literature Surveyor. The surveyor delivers summaries of published scientific reports on the quality of the classes of essential medicines listed below, across regions and over time. We hope it will help medicine regulators, scientists, health professionals, purchasers and officials fill critical information gaps.
The results of the University of Oxford’s Recognition of Distinction exercise for Associate Professor and University Research Lecturer are in, and I am delighted to announce that the University has conferred titles on the following MORU staff: