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Supporting children to grow smarter, not just taller

EOCRU OUCRU

Anuraj Shankar from our EOCRU unit in Jakarta, Indonesia, with Elizabeth Prado and Leila Larson describe a meta-analysis showing that responsive caregiving boosts infants’ brain development. Parenting group sessions and home visits improve cognitive, language, and motor skills. And nutrition-only programmes have much less effect than comprehensive interventions.

Risks of serious adverse events following treatment for visceral leishmaniasis

OCGHR Publication Research

This large-scale systematic review and meta-analysis aimed to collate all reported serious adverse events in visceral leishmaniasis clinical trials and quantify the incidence of mortality during the first 30 days of therapy. The analyses, which included clinical data from more than 35,000 patients, found that mortality following treatment was an extremely rare event and serious adverse events following treatments were poorly reported.

World TB Day: Finding new ways to test children for tuberculosis

General

Every year, over a million children fall ill with tuberculosis (TB) globally, and about a quarter die from this potentially preventable and curable disease. The main challenge remains the diagnosis of TB, especially in resource-constrained settings. We currently need to collect mucus from the lungs or liquid contents of the stomach, which must be collected in a hospital. Different ways to diagnosis TB in children are urgently needed, especially for those infected with HIV. An international collaboration is now conducting a large diagnostic study in Uganda to fill this gap. The study aims to detect TB bacteria in body fluids such as blood, urine, stool and saliva that are easier to collect.

The RECOVERY Trial: One year on

OCGHR Research

The Randomised Evaluation of COVid-19 thERapY (RECOVERY) trial was officially launched on 23 March 2020. It is the world's largest COVID-19 drug trial. Thanks to the ground-breaking work of RECOVERY, clinicians treating patients hospitalised with severe COVID-19 now have two treatments that are known to improve survival.

Researchers call for access to Ivermectin for young children

OCGHR Publication Research

Millions of children weighing less than 15kg are currently denied access to Ivermectin treatment due to insufficient safety data being available to support a change to the current label indication. The WorldWide Antimalarial Resistance Network’s new meta-analysis provides evidence that supports removing this barrier and improving treatment equity.

Gender imbalance in visceral leishmaniasis clinical trials

OCGHR Publication Research

Researchers have found that despite an ongoing trend for a decreasing proportion of males being enrolled in antileishmanial therapeutic efficacy trials over time, there are still 1.8 times as many males as females involved in clinical trials. A new systematic review and meta-analysis suggests that existing knowledge on drug efficacy is derived from a study population that is heavily skewed towards adult males. At the same time, substantially less is known about the optimal treatment response in female patients.

New report highlights growing concern of vaccine falsification

MORU OCGHR

The Medicine Quality Research Group has published a new Medical Product Quality Report focussing on increasing issues around substandard and falsified (SF) COVID-19 vaccines. With the implementation of the key innovations of COVID-19 vaccines, there have been growing numbers of reports of SF vaccines in the public domain. Given the vital role they will play in ending the pandemic and protecting the global population but severe issues with equitable access, SF vaccines are highly likely to be a growing problem.

RECOVERY trial closes recruitment to colchicine treatment for patients hospitalised with COVID-19

OCGHR Research

Established to test a range of potential treatments for COVID-19, the RECOVERY trial has included a comparison of colchicine, an anti-inflammatory drug that is commonly used to treat gout, vs. usual care alone. There has been no convincing evidence of the effect of colchicine on clinical outcomes in patients admitted to hospital with COVID-19, and recruitment to the colchicine arm of the RECOVERY trial has now closed. Recruitment to all other treatment arms – aspirin, baricitinib, Regeneron’s antibody cocktail, and dimethyl fumarate – continues as planned.

World’s largest clinical trial for COVID-19 treatments expands internationally

EOCRU OCGHR OUCRU OUCRU-Nepal Research

The Randomised Evaluation of COVID-19 Therapy (RECOVERY) Trial, the world’s largest clinical trial for COVID-19 treatments, has now expanded internationally with Indonesia and Nepal among the first countries to join. The first patients have been recruited to RECOVERY International.

Tocilizumab reduces deaths in patients hospitalised with COVID-19

OCGHR Research

The Randomised Evaluation of COVID-19 Therapy (RECOVERY) trial has demonstrated that tocilizumab, an anti-inflammatory treatment, reduces the risk of death when given to hospitalised patients with severe COVID-19. The study also showed that tocilizumab shortens the time until patients are successfully discharged from hospital and reduces the need for a mechanical ventilator.

Evidence supports WHO recommendation for primaquine combined with ACTs to block Plasmodium falciparum transmission

OCGHR Publication Research

Evidence from a new study, initiated by the Primaquine Roll Out Group and conducted at WWARN, supports the World Health Organization (WHO) recommendation for use of 0.25mg/kg dose of primaquine (PQ) combined with artemisinin-based combination therapies (ACT) to block Plasmodium falciparum transmission.

Geneva Health Forum panel on the elimination of NTDs and the new WHO Roadmap

Conferences & meetings OCGHR

The WHO 2030 NTD Roadmap has just been launched, and a recent Geneva Health Forum panel took that as its starting point to discuss the possibility of eliminating neglected tropical diseases (NTDs). Professor Philippe Guérin, IDDO’s Director, joined co-panellists Dr Amy Fall, the Global Health Medical for Africa Region Lead at Sanofi, Dr Mwele Malecela, Director of the Department of Control of Neglected Tropical Diseases at the WHO, and Dr Nathalie Strub-Wourgaft, Medical Director at Drugs for Neglected Diseases initiative (DNDi) back in November 2020.

Baricitinib to be investigated as a possible treatment for COVID-19 in the RECOVERY trial

OCGHR Research

Baricitinib – an anti-inflammatory treatment for rheumatoid arthritis– is being investigated in the RECOVERY trial, the world’s largest clinical trial of treatments for patients hospitalised with COVID-19, taking place in 177 hospital sites across the UK and with over 33,000 patients recruited so far. As an anti-inflammatory, baricitinib may block the signalling activity of cytokine molecules which contribute to the hyper-inflammatory state seen in severe COVID-19. It is thought that baricitinib may act also have some anti-viral activity. The other treatments currently being investigated in the RECOVERY trial are Regeneron’s antibody cocktail, Aspirin and Colchicine.

Indonesia’s decision to prioritise COVID-19 vaccination to citizens aged 18-59 years old questionable

EOCRU MORU OUCRU

The Indonesian government policy to exclude the elderly in the first phase of the COVID-19 vaccination program could hinder the vaccine’s impact in lowering mortality rates. COVID-19 mortality rates in Indonesia, the highest in Southeast Asia, are dominated by those in the 60 years and above age bracket. In this article published in The Conversation, Kartika Saraswati and fellow DPhil students elaborate how, by prioritising vaccination for elderly, Indonesia may optimally reduce the hospital burden and COVID-19 deaths amidst a limited vaccine supply during the first vaccination phase.

Community and Public Engagement at KWTRP

KWTRP Public Engagement

KWTRP initial community and public engagement strategy was developed in 2005 with three goals: build understanding and trust between researchers and communities, enhance ethical conduct of research, and disseminate research findings to promote uptake into policy. Our programme has since developed and now includes engagement with media, radio programme, media engagement workshops, various meetings and forums, and a fully-fledged school engagement programme that was awarded the 2019 Oxford VC Public Engagement with Research Award.

RECOVERY trial closes recruitment to convalescent plasma treatment for patients hospitalised with COVID-19

OCGHR Research

Convalescent plasma has been widely used as a treatment for COVID-19 but to date there has been no convincing evidence of the effect of convalescent plasma on clinical outcomes in patients admitted to hospital with COVID-19. Recruitment to the convalescent plasma arm of the RECOVERY trial has now closed. The preliminary analysis based on 1873 reported deaths among 10,406 randomised patients shows no significant difference in the primary endpoint of 28-day mortality. Recruitment to all other treatment arms – tocilizumab, aspirin, colchicine, and Regeneron’s antibody cocktail – continues as planned.

Check-list recommended to improve reporting of microscopy methods and results in malaria studies

MORU OCGHR Publication Research

A study to explore the variations of how microscopy methods are reported in published malaria studies has recommended standardised procedures should be implemented for methodological consistency and comparability of clinical trial outcomes.

UK National Health Service begins rollout of Oxford coronavirus vaccine

General OCGHR

The first patients are being vaccinated as part of the UK’s rollout of the Oxford / AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine, ChAdOx1 nCoV-19, at the Oxford University NHS Hospitals Trust. The Oxford AstraZeneca vaccinations will be delivered at a small number of hospitals for the first few days for surveillance purposes, as is standard practice, before the bulk of supplies are sent to hundreds of GP-led services later in the week.

Pearl Gan, OUCRU Photographer in Residence, selected for the Lancet Highlights 2020

OUCRU

Congratulations to Pearl Gan, OUCRU Photographer in Residence, for her winning image selected for the Lancet Highlights 2020: Framing Health Stories. Despite the difficulties of this pandemic year, The Lancet received fascinating and varied entries for our Highlights 2020 photography competition. 15 striking photographs were selected. Each picture captures a unique moment, highlighting a health story.

Receiving and responding to community feedback during health system crises in Kenya

KWTRP Publication Research

The responsiveness of a health system is one of its goals, alongside fairness in financing and outcomes. Listening and responding to the public can make a health system stronger and fairer. However, responsiveness is likely to be undermined, especially for vulnerable and marginal populations, in periods of crises such as disease outbreaks. In the current COVID-19 crisis, there has been more focus on health system control interventions, with minimal consideration of community views. KWTRP colleagues in Kenya consider community engagement and citizens feedback channels, concerns raised by the public and how they were handled, and highlight lessons learned.

Susie Dunachie awarded flagship NIHR career development award

Awards & Appointments OCGHR

Susie Dunachie joins a prestigious group of leading health researchers in the latest cohort of NIHR Global Research Professors. These awards fund research leaders of the future to promote effective translation of research and to strengthen health, public health and care research leadership at the highest academic levels. Research conducted by Global Research Professors directly benefits people in LMICs. A Consultant in Infectious Diseases and Medical Microbiology, Susie works on the development of a vaccine to prevent death from melioidosis in people with type 2 diabetes mellitus in LMICs, and supports vaccine research in Thailand. Congratulations!

RECOVERY trial finds no benefit from azithromycin in patients hospitalised with COVID-19

OCGHR Research

Established in March 2020, the RECOVERY trial tests a range of potential treatments for COVID-19, including azithromycin, a widely used antibiotic that also reduces inflammation. The azithromycin arm of the trial was established to determine whether or not the drug has a meaningful benefit among patients hospitalised with COVID-19. A preliminary analysis shows no significant difference in the primary endpoint of 28-day mortality; there was also no evidence of beneficial effects on the risk of progression to mechanical ventilation or length of hospital stay.

AfOx receives the Wellcome Institutional Strategic Support Fund to launch the Africa Health Innovation Platform

OCGHR

AfOx in collaboration with partners across the UK and Africa has received a Wellcome Institutional Strategic Support Fund to establish an Africa Health Innovation Platform. The multi-disciplinary platform will support African innovators who develop new solutions to Africa’s health challenges, bringing together researchers, entrepreneurs, investors, technologists, policymakers, and change leaders to develop new approaches towards prevention, early detection and treatment of diseases.

Knowledge brokering platform launched to support health systems in the African region

KWTRP

The World Health Organization and partners including the KEMRI Wellcome Trust Research Programme launched AHOP (African Health Observatory Platform), an online platform to promote the exchange of evidence and experience across countries in the African region. By working to foster evidence-informed decision-making in an endeavor to re-engineer health service delivery, the initiative is expected to drive countries’ health system resilience efforts.

The COVID-19 vaccine: do we know enough to end the pandemic?

MORU OCGHR

Blog by Rima Shretta. Preliminary efficacy results from three vaccine candidates currently in Phase 3 trials have shown an efficacy of more than 90% against the development of symptomatic COVID-19. While these results are promising, all vaccines are in relatively early stages of testing. A comprehensive and transparent roadmap is urgently needed, to determine how limited doses of the first vaccines to be licensed will be distributed, together with which groups will initially be prioritized.

Restoring confidence in science – tinkering in the margin is not enough

OCGHR Publication

Blog by Piero Olliaro, Josephine Bourner and Lakshmi Manoharan. The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the limits of the current peer-review model, which is collapsing under the number of articles and volume of information, unable to cope with the conflicting needs for speed and quality of information. The peer review process is often slow, opaque, unaccountable and biased; it is now time to focus on tangible improvements, making transparency our top priority. We need a system reset, not tinkering in the margin.

New study on the risk of Plasmodium vivax parasitaemia after Plasmodium falciparum malaria

MORU OCGHR Publication Research

A new study quantifying the high risk of Plasmodium vivax parasitaemia after treatment of Plasmodium falciparum malaria aims to identify populations in which a policy of universal radical cure, combining artemisinin-based combination therapy with a hypnozoitocidal antimalarial drug, would be most beneficial.

Clare Ling awarded honorary FRCPath

Awards & Appointments MORU SMRU

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.

Youth against antimicrobial resistance

OUCRU Public Engagement

The YAAR! project, bringing together young people from four countries in the Global South to help combat the challenge of antimicrobial resistance (AMR), or drug resistant infections.

Aga Khan University enrols first COPCOV Pakistan participant

MORU Research

As the world anxiously awaits COVID-19 vaccines, people working in healthcare settings remain at risk of infection from COVID-19. The Pakistani arm of COPCOV, the global study to test if hydroxychloroquine or chloroquine can prevent COVID-19 in healthcare workers, has begun to enrol participants at Aga Khan University, joining sites in the UK and Thailand.

Aiming for more effective remote communication between Oxford and the AAPs

MORU OCGHR

In an effort to foster closer interactions and collaboration, CTMGH learned long ago to make the best of the plethora of communication tools available. In this era of video conferences, we are all familiar with the limitations of various 2D options. Could new technologies help us devise better communication to enhance collaboration and teaching opportunities? In an effort to find new solutions, a group of NDM staff visited London and interacted as a hologram with colleagues in Bangkok.

FIEBRE Laos concludes recruitment

LOMWRU MORU

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.

Aspirin to be investigated as a possible treatment for COVID-19 in the RECOVERY trial

OCGHR Research

Aspirin will be investigated in the world’s largest clinical trial of treatments for patients hospitalised with COVID-19. The RECOVERY trial is taking place in 176 hospital sites across the UK, and has so far recruited over 16,000 patients. Patients with COVID-19 are at higher risk of blood clots forming in their blood vessels. Platelets seem to be hyperreactive in COVID-19 and may be involved in the clotting complications. As an antiplatelet agent, aspirin may reduce the risk of blood clots in patients with COVID-19.

Applicability of COVID-19 vaccine trial results to low-and-middle-income countries

MORU

In the next few months, the first Phase 3 COVID-19 vaccine trials – the majority of them in upper-middle or high-income countries and in specific target populations like young adults – will report their results. How relevant will their study results be for low-resource settings?

Trials of Oxford coronavirus vaccine begin in Kenya

KWTRP Research

Kenya has joined the global efforts in search of an effective vaccine for COVID-19 with the start of a trial evaluating the ChAdOx1 nCoV-2019 Oxford coronavirus vaccine. Following the necessary approvals from regulators, as well as the national ministry of health, and Kilifi county, the first volunteers for the trial have recently received their vaccinations.

Life at the Thai-Myanmar border through the eyes of a frontline researcher

MORU Public Engagement SMRU

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.

Congratulations new NDM professors

Awards & Appointments LOMWRU MORU

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.

British Pharmacology Society honours Joel Tarning

Awards & Appointments MORU

We are pleased to announce that Prof Joel Tarning has been awarded the biennial Grahame-Smith Prize by the British Pharmacological Society for outstanding contributions to clinical pharmacology. Joel has headed MORU's Clinical Pharmacology Department since 2012. Since then, the Department has grown into large, productive group that conducts laboratory- and computer-based pharmacology research.

IDDO and ISARIC partner to support data collection and analysis for COVID-19

OCGHR Research

In January 2020, ISARIC launched an international initiative for standardised COVID-19 clinical data collection. To date, ISARIC has collected data from over 118,000 individuals from 648 sites across 52 countries. To maximise the impact of this global collaboration, ISARIC has partnered with IDDO, which has over a decade’s worth of experience in collecting and standardising disparate data from various diseases and areas around the world. Together, ISARIC and IDDO are developing systems that include working with those who collect the data to generate collaborative analysis, and building data governance systems that allow data to be shared more widely.

Oxford Global Research

General KWTRP MORU OCGHR OUCRU

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.

Parenting for lifelong health for young children, project led by MORU Bioethics & Engagement Amalee McCoy

MORU Public Engagement

The University of Oxford, MORU, the University of Cape Town, the Thai Ministry of Public Health, and UNICEF Thailand worked together to promote lifelong health and well-being, and prevent violence against children. Led by Amalee McCoy from MORU Department of Bioethics & Engagement, this project involved the cultural adaptation and testing of an evidence-based parenting intervention for low-income families with children aged 2-9 living in Udon Thani, Thailand.

MORU students Mo Yin and Myo Maung Maung Swe receive NDM awards

Awards & Appointments MOCRU MORU

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.

COVID-19: examining theories for Africa’s low death rates

KWTRP OCGHR

Africa accounts for 17% of the global population but only 3.5% of the reported global COVID-19 deaths. In many African countries, transmission has been higher but severity and mortality much lower than originally predicted based on experience in China and Europe. Kevin Marsh and Moses Alobo argue that Africa’s much younger population explains a very large part of the apparent difference. Some of the remaining gap is probably due to under reporting of events but there are a number of other plausible explanations, ranging from climatic differences, pre-existing immunity, genetic factors to behavioural differences.

COVID-19 vaccine research in Kenya

KWTRP Research

Researchers at KWTRP and University of Oxford collaborate to evaluate the ChAdOx1 nCOV-19 vaccine in Kenya

The impact of covid-19 on health delivery and research in South Asia

OUCRU OUCRU-Nepal Publication

Covid-19 continues to cause huge disruption worldwide. As well as the ongoing immediate health impacts of the pandemic, its economic toll is being felt across the world, particularly in LMICs like Nepal. In addition to the wide-ranging disruption of health services, Covid-19 has shifted research priorities and stalled other essential ongoing research. Despite many problems, Covid-19 has afforded a unique opportunity for a better understanding of health research and methodologies in infectious diseases.

Large scale systematic review details causes of non-malarial febrile illnesses globally and identifies research priorities

COMRU LOMWRU OCGHR Publication Research

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.

Trudie Lang Highly Commended in Vice-Chancellor Innovation Awards 2020

Awards & Appointments OCGHR

Professor Trudie Lang is Highly Commended for 'Enabling Research in Low-Income Settings During Disease Outbreaks: Implementing, Learning and Preparing' in the Building Capacity category of the University Vice-Chancellor Innovation Awards 2020.

RECOVERY COVID-19 phase 3 trial to evaluate REGN-COV2 investigational antibody cocktail

OCGHR Research

RECOVERY, one of the world’s largest efforts to find effective COVID-19 treatments, will evaluate the impact of Regeneron’s REGN-COV2 investigational antibody cocktail on mortality, hospital stays, and the need for ventilation in the UK. RECOVERY aims to identify treatments that may be beneficial for people hospitalised with suspected or confirmed COVID-19

Professor Paul Newton wins the Helen Clark-JoPPP Award

Awards & Appointments MORU OCGHR

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.

Microscopy standards to harmonise methods for malaria clinical research studies

MORU OCGHR Publication Research

Research Malaria Microscopy Standards (ReMMS) applicable to malaria clinical research studies have been published in Malaria Journal. The paper describes the rationale for proposed standards to prepare, stain and examine blood films for malaria parasites.

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