The 5th May is World Hand Hygiene Day. To raise awareness among staff and the Thai-Myanmar border populations of the importance of hand washing, a simple, proven effective way of infection prevention, the SMRU infection control committee worked with the SMRU clinics and Mae Sot lab staff to create this fantastic video.
Posted 27/07/2021. This qualitative study by Mira Schneiders and colleagues discusses the important nutrition-related roles and responsibilities of grandparents caring for grandchildren in rural Cambodian ‘skip-generation’ households. Grandparents appear highly motivated to improve grandchildren’s health and nutrition, but lack necessary resources, leading to frequent moral dilemmas and ethical trade-offs. Interventions to improve child health and nutrition should be designed to be inclusive of older caregivers.
Posted 16/07/2021. Severe metabolic acidosis and acute kidney injury are major causes of mortality in children with severe malaria but are often underdiagnosed in low resource settings. What prognostic factors are associated with severe metabolic acidosis and uraemia in African children with severe falciparum malaria? Secondary analysis of a randomized trial by Mavuto Mukaka and colleagues
Posted 07/07/2021. Frank Smithuis and colleagues conducted a large cluster randomized evaluation of mass drug administration (MDA) with dihydroartemisinin-piperaquine for malaria elimination in an area with high artemisinin resistant Plasmodium falciparum. MDA was a safe and effective tool to accelerate P. falciparum elimination, alongside routine community-based malaria control measures. It was well tolerated and well accepted. MDA did not select for drug resistant parasites.
Posted 06/07/2021. Surveillance of Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is important in generating evidence to support efforts in controlling the infection. Cherry Lim and colleagues discuss the strengths, potential sources of bias, and challenges of routine microbiology data and different surveillance strategies and solutions used in low- and middle-income countries. Areas requiring support and improvement are highlighted.
Posted 29/06/2021. Frank Smithuis and colleagues describe a cluster of 29 children with severe, painful bone deformities living in very remote Nagaland, northwest Myanmar. They had low 25-hydroxyvitamin D, elevated parathyroid hormone, and elevated alkaline phosphatase levels, consistent with nutritional rickets secondary to vitamin D deficiency, calcium deficiency, or a combination of both. After treatment with vitamin D3 and calcium carbonate, we saw significant improvement in symptoms, biochemistry, and radiography. This is the first report of nutritional rickets in Myanmar in over 120 years.
Posted 23/06/2021. In an RCT of three artemisinin-based combination therapies in pregnancy on the Thailand-Myanmar border where artemisinin resistance is widespread, only dihydroartemisinin-piperaquine provided satisfactory efficacy for P. falciparum, in this study by Makoto Saito & colleagues. Mefloquine-artesunate provided the longest recurrence-free period for P. vivax. Vivax recurrence was so common, chloroquine prophylaxis is warranted after malaria of any species.
Posted 16/06/2021. The progress made in treatment of malaria is threatened by the emergence of resistance to current first line treatments artemisinin-based combination therapies (ACTs). There are currently no good alternatives for the treatment of uncomplicated malaria in the African setting in the event of resistance emerging to antimalarials that are in the ACTs. Mainga Hamaluba, Rob van der Pluijm and colleagues demonstrate that triple artemisinin combination therapies (TACTs) can potentially be used safely to prevent, delay or manage uncomplicated malaria in our setting.
Posted 23/04/2019. Human population movement can lead to the persistence of malaria along the Thai–Myanmar border. Lisa White, Wirichada Pan-ngum and colleagues show that malaria risk is related to the number of days doing outdoor activities in the dry season, especially trips to Myanmar, to forest areas and overnight trips. Understanding movement patterns is important when considering targeted public health interventions, especially during the elimination phase.
Posted 17/10/2017. Plasmodium falciparum and Plasmodium vivax malaria in pregnancy both increase stillbirth risk, which is likely to increase as endemicity declines. A study by SMRU and University of Melbourne researchers shows that better P. falciparum malaria control efforts could prevent up to 1 in 5 to 8 stillbirths in sub-Saharan Africa.
Posted 17/10/2016. Training local Karen and Burman women as skilled birth attendants in refugee settings resulted in no adverse perinatal outcomes and many positive outcomes such as a drop in stillbirths and infant deaths and more babies being born in clinics rather than at home, says a new study, led by Professor Rose McGready and published in PLOS ONE.
Posted 22/10/2019. Rose McGready and SMRU colleagues contributed RCT data from the Thailand-Myanmar border to this large review on low- and middle-income countries (21 studies in 20 882 children). The results suggests targeting parental, environmental and nutritional factors from pre-pregnancy through childhood, as a way forward to improve health and development of children in such settings.
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 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 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 30/03/2021. Reactive case detection has played a role in the elimination of malaria in China. The approach has been adapted and is used in the Greater Mekong Subregion. Because it requires considerable man power but only few cases are detected the approach is controversial. Jacqueline Deen, Lorenz Von Seidlein and colleagues included 8 articles in a meta-analysis that found the percentage of positive malaria cases among potential contacts using microscopy or rapid diagnostic test was 0.56%.
Posted 21/04/2020. This study by Victor Chaumeau and colleagues was carried out in order to assess the longevity of insecticide mists applied to outdoor vegetation. Insecticidal effect of sprayed plant material against malaria mosquitoes lasted for several weeks. These results provide a strong rationale for using outdoor residual spraying against the mosquito vectors that rest outside premises.
Posted 06/11/20. Victor Chaumeau and colleagues assessed the impact of outdoor residual spraying on the biting rate of malaria mosquitoes in four villages in Kayin state, Myanmar. They reported a 10-fold decrease in mosquito biting rate immediately after the intervention and concluded that outdoor residual spraying can be used to control malaria mosquitoes in this area.
Posted 08/06/2020. Safe and effective radical cure of malaria will require better ways of testing for G6PD deficiency. In a large collaborative study a paper in PLoS Medicine, Daniel Pfeffer, Ric Price and colleagues highlight substantial variation between research laboratories using the current gold standard method (spectrophotometry). The study highlights challenges but also opportunities for new point of care tests.
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 04/02/2020. Primaquine radical cure for treatment of Plasmodium vivax is contraindicated in patients with G6PD deficiency. Ric Price, Benedikt Ley and colleagues review evidence from 11 studies of a novel point of care diagnostic (CareStart RDT) and show overall good performance under research conditions. Further feasibility studies are under way to assess its reliability under field conditions.
"Although it is hard to look beyond the pandemic right now," says President of the Academy of Medical Sciences Professor Dame Anne Johnson, "I want to stress how important it is that the Academy Fellowship represents the widest diversity of biomedical and health sciences. The greatest health advances rely on the findings of many types of research, and on multidisciplinary teams and cross-sector and global collaboration."
Dr Clare Ling has been made an honorary Fellow of the Royal College of Pathologists (FRCPath). Currently running Shoklo Malaria Research Unit (SMRU) Microbiology department and supporting the unit’s molecular activities, Clare is a clinical scientist who has worked at SMRU on the Thai-Myanmar border since 2012.
Ethox programme REACH (Resilience, Empowerment and Advocacy in Women's and Children's Health Research) posted a visual research gallery as a Public Engagement project. Six galleries of photos by SMRU's Suphak Nosten depict aspects of migrant workers' daily lives: the Thai-Myanmar border; work; cultural and spiritual values; the often-difficult journeys seeking healthcare; striving for better; and dedicated frontline health workers. Richly coloured, sometimes personal, Suphak’s photography is deeply empathetic and memorable.
Oxford is world-famous for research excellence and home to some of the most talented people from across the globe. To showcase our global research, the University launched a Global Research Map, highlighting areas of research we are conducting overseas.
MORU’s Mo Yin and MOCRU’s Myo Maung Maung Swe were awarded a prize by the NDM’s Graduate Studies Committee. Very competitive awards, the prizes are given annually to current or recently graduated students of NDM supervisors on the basis of their publication record, the impact and novelty of their research, references, and research within their department.
From The Lancet Correspondence. In the opening to the 2019 World Malaria Report, entitled Leaving no one behind in the march to a malaria free world, the WHO’s Director-General notes that the scourge of malaria continues to strike hardest against pregnant women and children in Africa.