Thailand and SE Asia’s first Pint of Science Festival kicked Pint-of-Science1 off on Mon 15 May with a look at Killer Bugs: Disease, Detection and Destruction and an enthusiastic reception from over 50 attendees that included scientists from MORU and other institutions, business people with a background in science and students.
Posted 23/12/2022. December 2022 sees two notable anniversaries: the 200th anniversary of the birth of Louis Pasteur and the third anniversary of China's announcement of the COVID-19 outbreak. On these coinciding events, Phaik Yeong Cheah and colleagues reflect on past and current global challenges to bring epidemics under control.
Posted 22/12/2022. On Jan 27, 2022, WHO recommended a moratorium on the deployment of rectal artesunate suppositories for severe malaria and in doing so stopped the roll-out of a lifesaving intervention. The decision is based on data from a large demonstration project CARAMAL. Lorenz von Seidlein discusses the project and its consequences with two leaders of the project in a point- counterpoint published in the Lancet infectious Diseases.
Posted 20/12/2022. G6PD deficiency is a major risk factor for severe neonatal jaundice among neonates born at the Thailand-Myanmar border. Early identification of G6PD deficiency can dramatically improve clinical care. In this study Germana Bancone and colleagues showed that a new point-of-care quantitative G6PD test used by trained midwives can reliably identify neonates with abnormal G6PD at birth.
Posted 16/12/2022. Radical cure of vivax malaria with primaquine requires testing for glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase deficiency, which is currently not provided at the community level in Cambodia. In this article, Bipin Adhikari and colleagues describe the core components needed for implementing radical cure at the community, which will increase coverage important for rapid vivax malaria elimination.
Malaria outbreaks can be driven by genetic selection rather than environmental or behavioural causes. Varanya Wasakul, Olivo Miotto and colleagues investigated a Plasmodium falciparum outbreak in Attapeu, Laos, in 2020-2021, using genomic epidemiology methods to elucidate parasite population dynamics, identify the outbreak’s causes and reconstruct the origin of the circulating strains.
Posted 06/12/2011. Scrub typhus is an important cause of febrile illness in Laos. Ivo Elliott and colleagues collected, identified and tested small mammals hosts and vector chigger mites for Orientia tsutsugamushi, the causative pathogen. A single pool of chiggers tested PCR positive and 16/52 (31%) of small mammals were seropositive. These are the first molecular and serological data on O. tsutsugamushi in vectors and non-human hosts from Laos.
Posted 29/11/22. Makoto Saito and colleagues evaluated the fetal safety of antimalarials in the first trimester of pregnancy. Pregnant women who were treated with artemisinin-based combination therapy (ACT) in the first trimester had fewer fetal losses and congenital anomalies than quinine-treated women. Updated WHO guidelines recommend ACT, particularly artemether-lumefantrine, for all trimesters.
Posted 22/11/2022. Who owns individual-level health data collected from health research and clinical care? In this paper Phaik Yeong Cheah and Jan Piasecki argues that neither public ownership nor private ownership will allow us to resolve all the problems associated with effective, equitable, and ethical use of data.
Posted 21/10/2022. Amodiaquine is an important antimalarial widely used for the treatment and prevention of malaria, protecting millions of African children every year. Xin Hui Chan and colleagues characterised the concentration-dependency of the bradycardic, hypotensive, and QT-prolonging effects of amodiaquine and its active metabolite desethylamodiaquine in clinical and pre-clinical studies, providing evidence of their causal role.
Posted 18/10/2022. Trust is perhaps the most frequently attributed element in decision making for vaccine uptake. But what is trust, and how does it affect vaccine decision? In this qualitative review, Bipin Adhikari and colleagues explored how decisions on vaccine uptake are made, the role of trust and ways to build it.
Posted 05/10/2022. Sutharshan Vengadasalam, Timo Tolppa and colleagues employed pathway mapping, ethnography, and interviews in Colombia, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Tanzania and Uganda, and found four common barriers to the delivery of quality perioperative care - Fragmented care pathways, limited human and structural resources, direct and indirect costs, and patients' low expectations of care.
Posted 07/10/2022. G6PD measurement is critical before including primaquine or tafenoquine in the treatment for vivax malaria. Bipin Adhikari and colleagues explored whether first line health care providers can safely handle G6PD biosensors in the rural Cambodia. Our findings suggest that the radical cure for vivax malaria can be safely administered at the point of first contact, thus preventing relapse and continued transmission in a much larger population than through hospital based management.
Posted 21/09/2022. Phaik Yeong Cheah and colleagues asked malaria stakeholders in Burkina Faso and Nigeria: What are the key ethical considerations to be considered in the deployment of Triple Artemisinin-based Combination Therapies for malaria in Africa when artemisinin combination therapies are effective in most of Africa?
Posted 14/09/2022. Victor Chaumeau and colleagues evaluated the efficacy of outdoor residual spraying for malaria vector control on the Thailand-Myanmar border. Intervention was showed to rapidly interrupt transmission in a setting where the vectors bite mostly outdoors and at a time when people are not protected by mosquito bed nets.
Posted 31/08/2022. Substandard and falsified anti-infectives used in human and animals are common, especially in Low- and Middle-Income countries, leading to poor clinical outcomes, adverse drug reactions, economic losses, mistrust in health systems and potentially leading to AMR emergence and spread. One Health research is needed to assess their impact on AMR, by Celine Caillet and colleagues.
Posted 09/08/2022. Timo Tolppa and CCAA colleagues reviewed the literature on perioperative care pathways in resource-poor settings and found that pathways are increasingly used there with an aim to improve care quality. Patient and clinician beliefs were a major challenge in care pathway implementation, whereas facilitators included context-relevant adaptations, strong evidence-base and teamwork.
Posted 12/08/2022. This small series describes four family members who contracted cutaneous leishmaniasis due to Leishmania major that did not improve in two patients and worsened in the other two despite 4 weeks of intralesional meglumine antimoniate. All responded to a 4-week course of oral ketoconazole. The paper provides an interesting discussion, by Bob Taylor and colleagues
Posted 02/08/2022. Severe malaria is difficult to diagnose in high malaria transmission areas because of the high coincidence of malaria with other febrile illnesses. James Watson and colleagues analysed platelet counts and plasma PfHRP2 concentrations from >2000 severely ill children and show that around a third of children diagnosed with severe malaria have in fact another cause of illness.
Posted 28/07/2022. Meiwen Zhang and Tom Peto start a prevalence survey, including Hepatitis B and Hepatitis C, among the rural population in Bangladesh, Cambodia, and Thailand. In 2021 Meiwen and colleagues published a pilot implementation project on hepatitis C testing and treatment in rural Cambodia.
Posted 26/07/2022. In this paper, Phaik Yeong Cheah and colleagues describe the challenges and coping strategies related to public health measures during the first COVID-19 lockdown in Thailand. Major challenges identified included financial hardship, social isolation and loneliness. Coping strategies included turning to religion, practicing acceptance and ‘making merit’ (Tham-bun in Thai).
On 15-16 Dec, COPCOV investigators from around the world met in Bangkok to review study results and plan next steps. Led by co-PIs Prof Sir Nick White and Dr Will Schilling, and funded by the Wellcome Trust, the MORU-led COPCOV ( Chloroquine prevention of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in the healthcare setting) is the world’s largest multinational trial of COVID-19 prevention.
Continually monitoring malaria parasite populations is necessary to prevent outbreaks of previously dormant multidrug-resistant malaria strains, say University of Oxford researchers. Multidrug-resistant malaria parasite strains can rapidly grow or collapse in response to public health policy changes, say the researchers in a study published today in The Lancet.
MORU research has contributed to strategies to eliminate malaria in the Greater Mekong Sub-region, helping to prevent the spread of drug-resistant malaria and improving health provision and outcomes for remote communities.