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Improving the diagnosis of severe malaria in African children using platelet counts and plasma PfHRP2 concentrations

MORU Bangkok

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.

Decentralised hepatitis C testing and treatment in rural Cambodia: evaluation of a simplified service model integrated in an existing public health system

MORU Bangkok

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.

“Like a wake-up call for humankind”: Views, challenges, and coping strategies related to public health measures during the first COVID-19 lockdown in Thailand

MORU Bangkok

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).

Impact of delayed processing of positive blood cultures on organism detection: a prospective multi-centre study

COMRU LOMWRU

Posted 19/07/2022. What effect temperature and time have on organism detection from positive blood culture bottles is unknown. Tamalee Roberts, Arjun Chandna and colleagues found that the majority of organisms were recoverable from positive blood culture bottles stored at room temperature. Amies transport swabs also proved effective for transporting blood culture broth and preserving organism viability.

High burden of childhood tuberculosis in migrants: a retrospective cohort study from the Thailand–Myanmar border

SMRU

Posted 14/07/2022. Children bear a substantial burden of TB disease on the Thai-Myanmar border. Treatment success rate exceeded the WHO End TB target of 90%, suggesting that similar vulnerable populations could benefit from the enhanced support of this residential TB program offered by Francois Nosten and colleagues. However better child-friendly diagnostics are needed to improve the detection of TB in children.

Contribution of genetic factors to high rates of neonatal hyperbilirubinaemia on the Thailand-Myanmar border

MORU Bangkok SMRU

Posted 22/06/2022. Mutations on the G6PD and UGT1A1 genes play a large role in neonatal jaundice, including the severe forms, among Karen and Burman neonates. Germana Bancone and colleagues show that improved diagnostics are urgently needed and different screening strategies should be considered in populations with a high prevalence of these traits.

Childhood encephalitis in the Greater Mekong region (the SouthEast Asia Encephalitis Project): a multicentre prospective study

LOMWRU

Posted 21/06/2022. The South-East Asia Encephalitis Consortium, coordinated by Institut Pasteur-Paris, published in Lancet Global Health, a large prospective study of childhood encephalitis in Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam and Myanmar. The Lao site was coordinated by LOMWRU/Microbiology Laboratory, Mahosot Hospital. This demonstrated the vital importance of prevention, especially vaccination against Japanese encephalitis, and access to rapid, tiered diagnosis and treatment.

Under the Mask: A Film on Tuberculosis at the Thai-Myanmar Border

MORU Bangkok SMRU

Posted 13/05/2022. “Under the Mask” is a 75-min feature film that follows the lives of patients with TB who live on the Thai-Myanmar border. Phaik Yeong Cheah, Michele Vincenti Delmas and colleagues explains the genesis and development of the film, and how it has been used to engage communities at risk of TB.

Should peer reviewers be paid to review academic papers?

MORU Bangkok

Posted 03/05/2022. We’ve all been there! Waiting forever for reviewers comments after submission our paper to a journal. The system is not working. Should we pay reviewers to review a paper? Will it make a difference? Phaik Yeong Cheah and Jan Piasecki give some arguments why we should. What are your thoughts?

Facilitating safe discharge through predicting disease progression in moderate COVID-19: a prospective cohort study to develop and validate a clinical prediction model in resource-limited settings

COMRU

Posted 29/03/2022. In regions with low Covid-19 vaccine coverage, health systems remain vulnerable to surges in infections. Arjun Chandna and colleagues developed three clinical prediction models to help identify patients safe for community-based management. Each model contains three simple clinical parameters (age, sex, SpO2) and one point-of-care biomarker, and could help protect resource-limited health systems.

Triple therapy with artemether–lumefantrine plus amodiaquine versus artemether–lumefantrine alone for artemisinin-resistant, uncomplicated falciparum malaria: an open-label, randomised, multicentre trial

MORU Bangkok

Posted 22/03/2022. The first randomised trial of artemether-lumefantrine plus amodiaquine for uncomplicated falciparum malaria in areas with a high prevalence of artemisinin resistance shows it is a well-tolerated, effective treatment for multidrug-resistant parasites. Coordinated by Tom Peto, James Callery and Rupam Tripura, the triple therapy provides an alternative first-line treatment in Southeast Asia and elsewhere, with an expected longer therapeutic lifetime than current artemisinin combination therapies.

History and evolution of tuberculosis and global health

MORU Bangkok

Posted 15/03/2022. Bipin Adhikari reviews a book titled ‘Phantom Plague: How Tuberculosis Shaped History’ by Vidya Krishnan--a prominent medical science reporter. The book is a compelling journey into a history of medicine, current development of Tuberculosis epidemiology and treatment, and Global Health and is an essential read in Global Health.

The proxy dilemma: Informed consent in paediatric clinical research - a case study of Thailand

MORU Bangkok

Posted 11/03/2022. In paediatric research, a legal representative must provide consent on behalf of the child. Using Thailand as a case study, Sheila Varadan, Phaik Yeong Cheah and colleagues contemplate how international legal frameworks could be leveraged to navigate legal uncertainty in the informed consent process, enabling more children to participate in paediatric clinical research.

Anopheles salivary antigens as serological biomarkers of vector exposure and malaria transmission: A systematic review with multilevel modelling

SMRU

Posted 08/03/2022. In this review, Victor Chaumeau and colleagues assessed the level of association between antibody responses to mosquito salivary antigens and the metrics of malaria transmission across different areas of the globe. They identified knowledge gaps that need to be addressed before these serological markers of exposure to vector bites can be used operationally for malaria elimination.

Community engagement for malaria elimination in the Greater Mekong Sub‑region: a qualitative study among malaria researchers and policymakers

MORU Bangkok

Posted 01/03/2022. Nils Kaehler and colleagues, policymakers and researchers involved in malaria offered insights on strategies for community engagement for malaria elimination in the Greater Mekong Subregion. More than ever, sustaining community engagement and engaging with community-based health workers are critical to ensure that the last remaining malaria cases are not left 'untreated'.

Utility of InTray COLOREX Screen agar and InTray COLOREX ESBL agar for urine culture in the Lao PDR

LOMWRU

Posted 23/02/2022. Simple diagnostics are needed for enhanced antimicrobial resistance surveillance. Tamalee Roberts and colleagues showed how InTray COLOREX Screen chromogenic agar can be used for simple and rapid detection of uropathogens and ESBLs in LMIC settings. Inoculated agar plates also have the potential for easy storage and transport from field sites to central laboratories.

The impact of COVID-19 non-pharmaceutical interventions on the lived experiences of people living in Thailand, Malaysia, Italy and the United Kingdom: A cross-country qualitative study

MORU Bangkok

Posted 10/02/2022. In many countries, strict public health measures characterised the first wave of the pandemic, disrupting and changing everyday lives. But how were these measures individually experienced? This qualitative study by Mira Schneiders and colleagues provides a rich account of the challenges, opportunities and coping strategies of people living through the first COVID lockdown in Thailand, Malaysia, Italy, and the UK.

Transforming Nepal’s primary health care delivery system in global health era: addressing historical and current implementation challenges

MORU Bangkok

Posted 09/02/2022. To understand how complex social and programmatic interventions work, a mix of methods that entailed a blend of literature review, reflections from experiential and disciplinary expertise were utilized. This review by Bipin Adhikari and colleagues highlights the complexity of Nepal’s primary health care system (PHC), how it has evolved over the decades and through the current federalization, and challenges and opportunities to transform the PHC.

Mapping genetic markers of artemisinin resistance in Plasmodium falciparum malaria in Asia: a systematic review and spatiotemporal analysis

MORU Bangkok

Posted 04/02/2022. Current knowledge of P. falciparum artemisinin resistance evolution in Asia is as old as 4yrs ago. For swift policy decisions, rapid sharing of data collected over extended periods in the same areas is highly needed. Frank Kagoro and colleagues found a steady increase in geographic locations and the proportion of artemisinin resistance from 2002 to 2018. Using the latest WHO classification, the authors map all published K13 markers in Asia by province and district.

A case–control study of the causes of acute respiratory infection among hospitalized patients in Northeastern Laos

LOMWRU

Posted 28/01/2022. This case-control study by Koukeo Phommasone and colleagues aimed to determine the causes of acute respiratory infection (ARI) in patients presenting to a hospital in Laos. ARI was commonly attributed to influenza A and B, human metapneumovirus and respiratory syncytial virus. Other organisms were detected at similar frequency in cases and controls.

Clinical impact of vivax malaria: A collection review

LOMWRU

Posted 25/01/2022. This latest addition by Elizabeth Ashley and colleagues to the PLOS Medicine Vivax Malaria Collection describes the clinical impacts of Plasmodium vivax malaria, and incorporates a rapid systematic review of severe disease. Reports of severe vivax malaria are increasing, however the literature is dominated by case reports and case series, impeding accurate estimation of incidence.

Geoeconomic variations in epidemiology, ventilation management, and outcomes in invasively ventilated intensive care unit patients without acute respiratory distress syndrome

MORU Bangkok

Posted 23/12/2021. Marcus Schultz and colleagues analysed 4 large prospective observational studies conducted in 534 ICUs in 54 countries. Patients in middle–income countries were younger, shorter with a slightly lower BMI, had more often diabetes and active cancer, but less often COPD and heart failure. Sequential organ failure assessment scores were similar. ICU mortality was higher in middle–income countries, and inversely associated with GDP.

Global antibiotic consumption and usage in humans, 2000–18: a spatial modelling study

MORU Bangkok

Posted 12/11/2021. Global antibiotic consumption rates increased by 46 percent in the last two decades, according to the first study to provide longitudinal estimates of human consumption in 204 countries from 2000 to 2018. Annie Browne, Christiane Dolecek and colleagues used a novel approach that deployed statistical modelling techniques and incorporated multiple data sources, to help us address a number of public health challenges, from combating drug resistant infections to providing access to basic treatment

Antimicrobial resistance detection in Southeast Asian hospitals is critically important from both patient and societal perspectives, but what is its cost?

LOMWRU

Posted 05/22/2021. Generation of quality surveillance data is one of the pillars of the WHO response to the global AMR problem. However, work by LOMWRU’s Tamalee Roberts and colleagues estimates that laboratory setup and running costs for hospital-based AMR surveillance in Southeast Asia are likely to be prohibitive in many resource-limited settings.

Co-evolutionary signals identify Burkholderia pseudomallei survival strategies in a hostile environment

MORU Bangkok

Posted 02/11/2021. Claire Chewapreecha and colleagues employ a powerful combination of genome-wide epistasis and co-selection study (GWES); gene expression analyses and gene knockout assays to identify the key genes that have been repeatedly selected through Burkholderia pseudomallei evolution. The study indicates that the bacterium is evolutionarily primed to survive nutrient-depleted soils and highlights the need to protect environmental health as part of disease prevention.

Orientia tsutsugamushi dynamics in vectors and hosts: ecology and risk factors for foci of scrub typhus transmission in northern Thailand

MORU Bangkok

Posted 20/10/2021. Scrub typhus infects over a million people a year across the Asia-Pacific. The ecology of this important disease, transmitted by chigger mites, remains poorly understood. Ivo Elliott and colleagues report on the identification of key risk factors that determine foci of high disease transmission at 3 sites in Northern Thailand.

A descriptive study of Forcefully Displaced Myanmar Nationals (FDMN) presenting for care at public health sector hospitals in Bangladesh

MORU Bangkok

Posted 01/10/2021. In 2017 hundreds of thousands of ‘Rohingya’ fled from Myanmar to refugee camps in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh. Health centre data were reviewed to estimate the increase in health care utilization. The presence of a large migrant population relative to a smaller host community burdens the limited facilities and resources of the public health sector, by Lorenz Von Seidlein and colleagues

The cardiovascular effects of amodiaquine and structurally related antimalarials: An individual patient data meta-analysis

MORU Bangkok

Posted 29/09/2021. Xin Hui Chan and colleagues report a large individual patient data meta-analysis of malaria clinical trials supporting the cardiovascular safety of amodiaquine and structurally related antimalarials at WHO-recommended dosing regimens alone or in ACTs for the treatment and prevention of malaria, and propose a potential mechanism for amodiaquine-related asthenia.

Saving babies’ lives (SBL) – a programme to reduce neonatal mortality in rural Cambodia: study protocol for a stepped-wedge cluster-randomised trial

COMRU

Posted 28/09/2021. Despite most neonatal deaths being preventable, neonatal mortality remains unacceptably high globally. Saving Babies’ Lives (SBL) is a stepped-wedge cluster-randomised trial, which will develop, implement, and assess an iterative package of neonatal interventions combining community and primary care strategies to reduce neonatal mortality in a rural Cambodian province, by Claudia Turner and colleagues

Development of weight and age-based dosing of daily primaquine for radical cure of vivax malaria

MORU Bangkok

24/09/2021. Plasmodium vivax in SE Asia and Oceania is less sensitive to primaquine compared to other regions and needs a higher target dose - 0.5 mg/kg. Bob Taylor and colleagues propose a new regimen that was designed using pharmacokinetic simulation and takes into account that children need higher mg/kg doses compared to adults.

Clustering of malaria in households in the Greater Mekong Subregion: operational implications for reactive case detection

MORU Bangkok

Posted 17/09/2021. One of the policies to achieve malaria elimination in the near future is reactive case detection. A secondary analysis of a large dataset of mass drug administrations in Greater Mekong Subregion found that reactive case detection in this setting is costly but results only in minimal benefits, by Lorenz Von Seidlein and colleagues

Dynamics of G6PD activity in patients receiving weekly primaquine for therapy of Plasmodium vivax malaria

MORU Bangkok

Posted 15/09/2021. In Cambodian G6PD deficient variants, G6PD enzyme activity is unaffected by baseline reticulocyte counts but rises and correlates with posttreatment reticulocytosis. Qualitative G6PD tests are unlikely to misdiagnose G6PD deficient males at presentation. Too few G6PD heterozygous females preclude drawing inferences; more research is needed in this group.

A spatio-temporal analysis of scrub typhus and murine typhus in Laos; implications from changing landscapes and climate

LOMWRU

Posted 14/09/2021. Little is known about why scrub typhus and murine typhus vary through time and space. Tamalee Roberts and colleagues investigated the impacts of climate and environment on both neglected diseases in Laos. The results suggest that global heating will increase their incidence and distribution, requiring interventions to reduce their burden.

Suicidal ideation in the perinatal period: findings from the Thailand–Myanmar border

SMRU

Posted 24/08/2021. Suicide is a leading cause of maternal death globally. On the Thailand-Myanmar border, 8% of refugee women and 3% of migrant women experienced suicidal thoughts during pregnancy and postnatally. The greatest risk factors for suicidal thoughts were unplanned pregnancy and past trauma. Community interventions and targeted prevention initiatives are urgently needed to help lower the rates of people dying by suicide, by Gracia Fellmeth and colleagues.

Preprints in times of COVID19: the time is ripe for agreeing on terminology and good practices

LOMWRU

Posted 06/08/2021. Preprints are increasingly being used to share non-peer-reviewed manuscripts to enable the rapid dissemination of research. In particular, they have become an important source of information for wider audiences keen to follow COVID-19 research developments, including news, social media and policymakers. This practice raises several challenges in publication ethics and integrity. Paul Newton and colleagues set out the need for good practice.

Grandparent caregiving in Cambodian skip-generation households: Roles and impact on child nutrition

MORU Bangkok

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.

Identifying prognostic factors of severe metabolic acidosis and uraemia in African children with severe falciparum malaria

MORU Bangkok

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

Mass drug administration for the acceleration of malaria elimination in a region of Myanmar with artemisinin-resistant falciparum malaria

MOCRU

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.

Surveillance strategies using routine microbiology for antimicrobial resistance in low- and middle-income countries

MORU Bangkok

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.

Case Report: Children with Severe Nutritional Rickets in the Naga Region in Northwest Myanmar, on the border with India

MOCRU

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.

A randomized controlled trial of dihydroartemisinin-piperaquine, artesunate-mefloquine and extended artemether-lumefantrine treatments for malaria in pregnancy on the Thailand-Myanmar border

SMRU

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.

Arterolane–piperaquine–mefloquine versus arterolane–piperaquine and artemether–lumefantrine in the treatment of uncomplicated Plasmodium falciparum malaria in Kenyan children

MORU Bangkok

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.

Global economic costs due to vivax malaria and the potential impact of its radical cure: A modelling study

MORU Bangkok

Posted 15/06/2021. Plasmodium vivax caused an estimated 14 million malaria cases in 2017. By collating economic and epidemiological data, Angela Devine and colleagues estimated an economic cost of $359 million associated with these episodes. A scenario analysis explored how costs might change with global access to safe radical cure, estimating cost savings of $17-93 million.

Geographical distribution of Burkholderia pseudomallei in soil in Myanmar

MOCRU

Posted 11/06/2021. Burkholderia pseudomallei, a bacterium found in soil, can cause melioidosis, a potentially fatal disease. Melioidosis was first described in Myanmar but rarely reported over the past decades due to lack of awareness and limited diagnostic facilities. Frank Smithuis and colleagues report a widespread distribution of the organism in Myanmar soil. This should alert clinicians to consider melioidosis as a potential cause of sepsis, pneumonia or abscesses.

Why do people purchase antibiotics over-the-counter? A qualitative study with patients, clinicians and dispensers in central, eastern and western Nepal

MORU Bangkok

Posted 25/05/2021. Seeking treatment including antibiotics without prescription at drug shops is a common practice in Nepal which can contribute to rising antibiotic resistance. This may leave us without effective antibiotics for future infections. In this study, Bipin Adhikari and colleagues explore why people buy antibiotics over the counter in Nepal and implications for its control.

Falciparum but not vivax malaria increases the risk of hypertensive disorders of pregnancy in women followed prospectively from the first trimester

SMRU

Posted 18/05/2021. Rose McGready and colleagues show a strong association between P. falciparum infection and hypertension, in a large prospective cohort of women followed from the first trimester of pregnancy. Falciparum malaria which sequesters in the placenta most likely drives the development of chronic placental hypoxia, eventually progressing to clinical gestational hypertension or pre-eclampsia. This is important given hypertension is in the top 3 killers of pregnant women and that most pregnancy related hypertensive deaths occur in sub-Saharan Africa where malaria prevention strategies are not implemented until the beginning of second trimester or later.

Ambulatory induction phase treatment of cryptococcal meningitis in HIV integrated primary care clinics, Yangon, Myanmar

MOCRU

Posted 14/05/2021. Cryptococcal meningitis is a common serious HIV-associated infection, responsible for 15% of AIDS related deaths globally. Patients are usually treated as in-patients. Frank Smithuis and colleagues reviewed 76 patients treated with amphotericin and fluconazole as out-patients in primary care clinics in Yangon, Myanmar. One-year survival (86%) was higher than existing hospital-based treatment studies and 1029 hospitals days were saved.

Laboratory informatics capacity for effective antimicrobial resistance surveillance in resource-limited settings

COMRU

Posted 11/05/2021. Microbiology laboratory data management is complex and is a rate-limiting step for AMR surveillance in low- and middle-income countries. Paul Turner, Liz Ashley, and colleagues summarise the urgent IT infrastructure requirements needed to ensure that the substantial ongoing efforts to develop capacity for AMR surveillance in LMICs realise their full potential.

Assessing the impacts of short-course multidrug-resistant tuberculosis treatment in the Southeast Asia Region using a mathematical modeling approach

MORU Bangkok

Posted 07/05/2021. Multidrug-resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB) remains a significant burden in the Southeast Asia region. Using mathematical modelling approach, Wirichada Pan-Ngum and colleagues assessed the population-level impacts of short-course MDR-TB treatment compared to the conventional therapy. Early initiation of treatment and good level of treatment eligibility are identified to be important determinants to the success of MDR-TB control programmes.

Perinatal depression in migrant and refugee women on the Thai–Myanmar border: does social support matter?

SMRU

Posted 05/05/2021. On the Thailand-Myanmar border, 39% of migrant women and 47% of refugee women experience maternal depression. Gracia Fellmeth and colleagues show that among migrant women, higher levels of social support are associated with lower depression. The perinatal period offers a valuable opportunity to ask women about depression and support networks and offer help to those who need it.

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