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

@Oxford 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

@Oxford MORU 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

@Oxford General

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

@Oxford Awards & Appointments

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

@Oxford 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

@Oxford

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?

@Oxford MORU

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

@Oxford 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

@Oxford MORU 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.

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

@Oxford MORU

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

@Oxford 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

@Oxford 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

@Oxford General KWTRP MORU 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

@Oxford KWTRP

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.

Trudie Lang Highly Commended in Vice-Chancellor Innovation Awards 2020

@Oxford Awards & Appointments

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.

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

@Oxford COMRU LOMWRU 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.

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

@Oxford 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

@Oxford Awards & Appointments MORU

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

@Oxford MORU 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.

Hydroxychloroquine doses in COVID-19 prevention trials should be safe, study finds. Now let’s find out if they’re effective.

MORU Research

As the world waits impatiently for a COVID-19 vaccine, an exhaustive review of hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine pharmacology suggests that the doses used in COVID-19 prevention trials are safe, say University of Oxford affiliated researchers in a study published in PLoS Medicine.

New global COVID-19 long term study launched

@Oxford Publication

ISARIC has launched a longitudinal observational study to measure prevalence and risk factors of long-term health and psychosocial consequences of COVID-19. The researchers are inviting hospitals and healthcare sites worldwide to join this new study. The patient survey has been designed to assess long-term health and psychosocial consequences of COVID-19 at serial intervals for up to three to five years, depending on resources.

Five years at the top: Oxford retains first place in World University Rankings

Awards & Appointments General

Oxford University’s enduring global reputation, cutting edge research and unique teaching environment have helped retain first place in the Times Higher Education World University Rankings for a fifth consecutive year. THE rankings use 13 separate performance indicators to cover universities’ core missions across teaching, research, knowledge transfer and international outlook. The award follows a year when the University of Oxford has been at the centre of international attention for its work on finding a vaccine for COVID-19 as well as taking a leading role in trialling therapeutic drugs and antibody testing.

ViParc project, OUCRU on the front line of fighting AMR

OUCRU

Resistance to antibiotics is one of the key challenges to healthcare this century. Tackling it will require sweeping changes to antibiotic use in animals⁠—and researchers from Oxford University Clinical Research Unit are rising to the challenge in Vietnam, with a rigorous test of programmes among farmers.

Trial results show a 77% reduction in dengue incidence in Wolbachia-treated communities

OUCRU Research

The World Mosquito Program posted the results of a 3-year randomised controlled trial in Yogyakarta, Indonedia, providing compelling gold standard evidence for the efficacy of the Wolbachia method in controlling dengue. The deployment of Wolbachia-carrying Aedes aegypti mosquitoes lead to a reduction of 77% in dengue incidence in Wolbachia-treated versus untreated areas.

Hydroxychloroquine is being discarded prematurely in COVID-19 prevention

MORU Research

Hydroxychloroquine could still prevent COVID-19 and save tens of thousands of lives around the world, say leading scientific researchers. While it doesn’t work in treatment of hospitalised patients, it could still prevent infections. However, fraudulent data, unjustified extrapolation and exaggerated safety concerns together with intense politicisation and negative publicity may stop COPCOV, the only large, global clinical trial testing hydroxychloroquine in COVID-19 prevention, from ever finding out.

Drug-resistant enteric fever, antibiotics and the need for clean water

@Oxford MORU Publication

Blog by Professor Christiane Dolecek. Antimicrobial resistance is a critical problem in enteric fever. Drug-resistant infections can have severe consequences, and slowing their spread requires our urgent attention. The most important intervention is to reduce the number of infections; vaccines are a critical tool, alongside surveillance and diagnosis. To achieve this control, strong partnerships between WHO, governments, NGOs, academia, private sector and communities are needed.

Local lockdowns can be successful – here’s what we need to make them work

@Oxford Publication

Over the past few weeks, the UK government has gradually eased national lockdown measures. As the economy reopens, the number of contacts an individual has with other people inevitably increases. Since then, there has been an increase in COVID-19 cases, as well as spikes in transmission in certain areas. In response, rather than locking down the whole country again, the government has brought in local lockdowns in affected areas. Lakshmi Manoharan, Medical Epidemiologist at ERGO tells us how to make local lockdowns a success.

Medicine Quality Scientific Literature Surveyor

@Oxford

IDDO and MORU released its Medicine Quality Scientific Literature Surveyor. The surveyor delivers summaries of published scientific reports on the quality of the classes of essential medicines listed below, across regions and over time. We hope it will help medicine regulators, scientists, health professionals, purchasers and officials fill critical information gaps.

New study reveals Oxford coronavirus vaccine produces strong immune response

@Oxford Publication Research

A team of scientists at Oxford University’s Jenner Institute and Oxford Vaccine Group has taken the next step towards the discovery of a safe, effective and accessible vaccine against coronavirus. The results of the Phase I/II trial published in The Lancet indicate no early safety concerns and induces strong immune responses in both parts of the immune system.

International research collaborations: how can we shift the power towards Africa?

@Oxford

The higher education sector globally has been disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Academics have been discussing various aspects of the disruptions in a series of webinars organised by the University of Cape Town. One area of particular interest is how the pandemic could affect international research collaborations. The Conversation Africa’s Nontobeko Mtshali asked Professor Kevin Marsh and two other panellists to share their views.

Plug COVID-19 research gaps in detection, prevention and care

@Oxford Publication Research

The global research community asks for the right research in the right places for COVID-19. The Global Health Network, the African Academy of Sciences and UK Collaborative on Development Research release a report in Nature that calls for the use of research evidence on the optimal implementation of public health interventions for COVID-19 in varied global settings.

Can big countries realistically eliminate COVID-19 without a vaccine?

@Oxford Publication

The UK should change its COVID-19 strategy to try to eliminate COVID-19 even without a vaccine rather than simply managing the disease. New Zealand has effectively managed to eliminate the virus, but can states with much larger, denser populations that have experienced much bigger outbreaks hope to do the same? Or is it more realistic to accept that the disease is likely to continue to circulate at some level and plan for that? Lakshmi Manoharan, Medical Epidemiologist with ERGO, tells us we should focus on reducing the amount of community transmission first before allowing economic and social activity to resume as normal.

New Tropical Medicine Associate Professors and University Research Lecturers

Awards & Appointments COMRU EOCRU OUCRU OUCRU-Nepal

This year has seen a high level of recognition of distinction in the Africa and Asia Programmes and Global Health research. Many congratulations to our researchers.

ISARIC collaboration: New national study into the long-term health impacts of COVID-19 launched

@Oxford Research

A major UK research study into the long-term health impacts of COVID-19 on hospitalised patients, involving researchers from the University of Liverpool, has been launched.

New COVID-19 simulation training for smartphones helps African healthcare workers save lives

@Oxford KWTRP Research

Oxford University’s LIFE project has launched a new set of app-based training scenarios that help healthcare workers in Africa safely manage and treat cases of children with suspected COVID-19

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