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The Malaria & Critical Illness team published 96 papers in 2018, and 222 papers from 2015-2017, of which many in leading journals. Since its conception in 1979, the Malaria team has published over 1,000 papers.

An SMRU researcher reviews malaria research data. © MORU 2021. Photographer: Gerhard Jørén
At SMRU, a researcher reviews malaria research data. Research carried out by MORU Malaria and other units of the MORU Tropical Health Network underpins the current WHO guidelines for treatment of severe malaria, uncomplicated falciparum and vivax malaria, and malaria in pregnancy

Some most recent scientific accomplishments (in 2018):

  • Large trials in Myanmar, Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam on the use of targeted mass drug administration (MDA) with dihydroartemisinin/piperaquine +/- low dose primaquine showed that the intervention achieved large reductions in falciparum malaria prevalence and highlighted the importance of community engagement to achieve high population coverage. Using a novel ultrasensitive qPCR detection method, the importance of asymptomatic parasite carriage for maintaining malaria transmission in the region was described.
  • A series of studies showed increasing antimalarial drug resistance with spread of a single multi drug resistant parasite lineage in the region.  
  • Laboratory transcriptomic and cell biology studies described important underlying mechanisms of artemisinin resistance in P. falciparum.
  • A large multinational trial testing triple artemisinin combination therapies (TACTs) for the treatment of drug resistant falciparum malaria (TRAC II) showed high efficacy and acceptable safety and tolerability of TACTs.
  • The largest ever multicentre study on primaquine radical treatment of vivax malaria (IMPROV) was completed and offers an efficacious and tolerated double dose primaquine regimen over 7 days.
  • The contribution of intravascular haemolysis to acute kidney injury was described, and a randomised clinical trial showed a reno-protective effect of paracetamol in adult severe malaria through an anti-oxidative mechanism.
  • In-depth studies on the metabolic acidosis in severe malaria identified important contributing acids with a likely source in the gut microbioma.
  • Large molecular surveillance studies of antimalarial drug resistance in the Greater Mekong Subregion were continued and shared on publicly accessible maps.
  • A low-cost electronic ICU registry was developed in Sri Lanka and is now implemented in the region.