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COPCOV now world’s largest COVID-19 pre-exposure prophylaxis trial

MORU

A 6-week recruitment burst at Aga Khan University in Pakistan led the way as COPCOV enrolment broke 1600 participants. Led by MORU, COPCOV is the world’s largest trial trying to determine if hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine prevent COVID-19.

How did people in Europe and SE Asia experience the first COVID-19 wave?

MORU

An international team, led by Phaik Yeong Cheah, conducted an anonymous online survey from May-June 2020, asking 5,058 people in Thailand, Malaysia, United Kingdom, Italy and Slovenia to share their experiences. Anne Osterrieder and colleagues report the unequal impacts of public health measures, and the prevalence of ‘fake news’.

RECOVERY Trial announced as overall winner of Best COVID-19 Response Project Award in the UK

Awards & Appointments OCGHR

The RECOVERY Trial has won the Project Management Institute’s Special Covid-19 UK Response Project Award. The award specifically recognised RECOVERY’s work to investigate whether the cheap steroid dexamethasone was an effective treatment for patients hospitalised with severe COVID-19.

ISARIC COVID-19 clinical database passes ½ million patient records mark

OCGHR

COVID-19 has exposed our vulnerability to pandemic infections and shown what works, and what does not. It has tested the effectiveness of the Oxford-based global, open-source, collaborative approach set up 10 years ago to prevent illness and deaths from infectious disease outbreaks: ISARIC, the International Severe Acute Respiratory and Emerging Infection Consortium.

Recruitment surges in COPCOV COVID-19 prevention study

MORU

As high COVID-19 daily cases and highly transmissible variants risk overwhelming countries’ healthcare systems, COPCOV, the world’s last-standing large prophylaxis RCT, faces tight timelines to determine whether chloroquine/ hydroxychloroquine prevents COVID-19

Simple blood tests may help improve malaria diagnosis in clinical studies

KWTRP MORU

About one-third of children diagnosed with severe malaria may instead have an alternative cause of illness, but simple blood tests could help researchers distinguish between the two and speed up research on new treatments.

RECOVERY Trial named joint winner of HDR UK’s Impact of the Year Award

OCGHR

The RECOVERY trial has been jointly awarded Health Data Research UK’s 2021 Impact of the Year Award. This award is open to projects which had effectively used health data to improve people’s lives, including through clinical practice, policy, software, algorithms, or publications. The award was presented by James O’Shaughnessy at HDR UK’s online Annual Scientific Conference: Data Insights in a Pandemic.

OUCRU scientists identify combination of biological markers associated with severe dengue

OUCRU

Nguyen Lam Vuong, Sophie Yacoub & colleagues have identified a combination of biological markers in patients with dengue that could predict whether they go on to develop moderate to severe disease. Biomarkers are used to identify the state or risk of a disease in patients; these findings could aid the development of biomarker panels for clinical use and help improve triage and risk prediction in patients with dengue.

Latest data on immune response to COVID-19 reinforces need for vaccination, says Oxford-led study

OCGHR

A new study led by the University of Oxford has found that previous infection, whether symptomatic or asymptomatic, does not necessarily protect you long-term from COVID-19, particularly against new Variants of Concern.

What does the Oxford Malaria vaccine mean for Asia?

EOCRU OUCRU

A trial in infants and toddlers in Burkina Faso showed that experimental malaria vaccine R21/MM confers 77% protection, an unprecedented level and the first malaria vaccine to exceed WHO’s goal of 75% efficacy. While a larger trial is needed to assess its safety and efficacy, R21/MM may substantially reduce child mortality in Sub-Saharan Africa. But this vaccine may be less relevant to Asia Pacific where malaria causes severe morbidity and mortality in all age groups, asymptomatic malaria infections are frequent, and the vaccine may not be effective against P. vivax.

RECOVERY trial finds Regeneron’s monoclonal antibody combination reduces deaths for hospitalised COVID-19 patients who have not mounted their own immune response

OCGHR

The Randomised Evaluation of COVID-19 Therapy (RECOVERY) trial has demonstrated that the investigational antibody combination developed by Regeneron reduces the risk of death when given to patients hospitalised with severe COVID-19 who have not mounted a natural antibody response of their own.

Professors Peter Horby and Guy Thwaites recognised in Queen’s Birthday Honours

Awards & Appointments OCGHR OUCRU

The pioneering work of members of the University of Oxford has been recognised in The Queen's Birthday Honours List. The honorands include Professor Peter Horby and six researchers that have played key roles in leading the University’s response to the Coronavirus pandemic, from the development of new vaccines to the discovery of new drug treatments. Professor Guy Thwaites is appointed a Member of the Order of the British Empire.

RECOVERY trial finds aspirin does not improve survival for patients hospitalised with COVID-19

OCGHR

The RECOVERY trial was established as a randomised clinical trial to test a range of potential treatments for patients hospitalised with COVID-19. Patients with COVID-19 are at increased risk of blood clots forming in their blood vessels, particularly in the lungs. Between November 2020 and March 2021, the RECOVERY trial included nearly 15,000 patients hospitalised with COVID-19 in an assessment of the effects of aspirin, which is widely used to reduce blood clotting in other diseases. There was no significant difference in the primary endpoint of 28-day mortality

The COVID-19 International Modelling Consortium (CoMo Consortium) enters a new phase

OCGHR

Created in March 2020 to assist policymakers to make use of existing evidence in mathematical and epidemiological models to inform strategies for minimising the impact of COVID-19, the CoMo Consortium brings together mathematical modellers, epidemiologists, health economists and public health experts from more than 40 countries across Africa, Asia and South and North America.

ASM Editor in conversation with Nick White

MORU Video

Malaria continues to be a major killer, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa, affecting the world’s most vulnerable populations with more than 500,000 deaths per year, most of them African children. Emergence of resistance to antimalarial drugs is major public health issue. American Society for Microbiology Editor Dr Cesar Arias discusses with Professor Sir Nick White the latest information on this rapidly evolving field.

New Pandemic Sciences Centre at the University of Oxford

OCGHR

The University of Oxford announces the launch of a centre of global research collaboration and excellence, the Pandemic Sciences Centre. The need for partnership between academic excellence, industry and public health organisations is one of the key lessons learned from the coronavirus pandemic. This centre will unite disciplines, and sectors, to build agile, equitable partnerships that can tackle complex problems and respond to pandemic threats at any time.

COVID-19 in Nepal: a lack of preparedness and a lack of vaccines

OUCRU OUCRU-Nepal

COVID-19 in Nepal is out of hand and slowly, but surely tracking the infection in India. Although many healthcare workers have been vaccinated throughout the country, the actual vaccination rate is likely very low for the entire country. Buddha Basynat discusses Nepal’s COVID response so far, and why vaccines are an urgent priority.

RECOVERY trial named David Sackett Trial of the Year 2020

Awards & Appointments OCGHR

The RECOVERY trial has been named David Sackett Trial of the Year by the Society for Clinical Trials. The award was presented today at the Society for Clinical Trials’ 42nd Annual Meeting.

AMR and scrub typhus among Chiangrai Unit's research priorities

MORU

Which infections are most common in the Chiangrai region? How should we treat them and how can we improve diagnostic? Which strategies are most effective in directing antibiotic treatment? Blog by Carlo Perrone, research physician based at the Chiang Rai Clinical Research Unit in Chiangrai, Thailand.

Buddha Basnyat joins the RSTMH Board of Trustees

Awards & Appointments OUCRU OUCRU-Nepal

Director for the Oxford University Clinical Research Unit Nepal, Professor Buddha Basnyat is a medical doctor based in Kathmandu, Nepal. His research interests are infectious diseases and high altitude medicine, and he has almost 300 publications in peer-reviewed medical journals. One of his primary interests is to encourage young people to do clinical research.

Arjen Dondorp, Peter Horby and Rose McGready elected Academy of Medical Sciences Fellows

Awards & Appointments MORU OCGHR

"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."

Pint of Science Thailand is back, now online

Public Engagement

Live and on-line from Bangkok! Be ready for Thursday 13th May, when Pint of Science Thailand will stream live from Bangkok. Join us via Facebook, YouTube or right here from the Pint of Science Thailand website as we journey from bacterial infections to viruses, discover how clinical trials work, and how scientific development is seen in the eyes of the law!

We gathered rich insights into child survival in Kenya by mapping patterns over 22 years

KWTRP

Although improvements in child survival globally have been remarkable, 5.2 million children still died in 2019, over half of these in sub-Saharan Africa. A range of factors likely include disparities in childhood immunisations, supplements and breastfeeding practices, antenatal care, skilled birth attendants working in healthcare facilities. Kenya needs to prioritise its child care plans, based on localities and populations with the greatest need. Two KWTRP studies give granular insights into the situation in regions across Kenya.

How Nepal can survive a second COVID wave

OUCRU OUCRU-Nepal

Nepal is seeing a COVID surge that is proportionately similar to India. While we try to treat the sick by increasing hospital space and ensuring oxygen supply, we must also plan for an exit strategy. Over-preparation rather than under-preparedness needs to be our mantra, with widespread vaccination the key to get us out of this pandemic, by Professor Buddha Basnyat

What it takes to reach zero malaria

KWTRP

Interview with KWTRP Malaria immunologist Dr Francis Ndungu. Francis grew up in central Kenya where malaria is not prevalent but is interested in understanding of how semi-immune individuals control malaria parasite growth and the associated inflammation symptoms. His current work is in understanding how we develop immunity to Malaria. He is also interested in the potential translation of that knowledge in the development of effective malaria vaccines.

Celebrating women in ICT: connected girls, creating brighter futures

Public Engagement

The International Girl’s in ICT day is commemorated to create awareness on the critical need for more girls and women in the ICT sector, encourage and inspire young girls to actively pursue careers in STEM as well as engage the community to promote collaboration through partnerships. Kathreen Wafula, an ICT Support Technician in Kilifi, joins a strong team of techies and is one of the 4 women in the department.

Communicating with communities for World Immunisation Week 2021

Public Engagement

World Immunization Week highlights the role vaccinations play in improving the health of communities. As the COVID pandemic continues to impact countries worldwide, governments are facing challenges related to coverage, equity and sustainability of routine immunisation alongside access and the particular maintenance requirements related to the SARS-CoV-2 vaccines. Communication with communities has been key to ensure continued engagement with the vaccine programs despite the challenges of current contexts.

Innovative strategies for engaging communities with malaria research

Public Engagement

For World Malaria Day 2021, F1000 Research Blog spoke to Professor Phaik Yeong Cheah about her research focussed on drama and arts-based community engagement for malaria research, published with Wellcome Open Research.

New project’s child-appropriate primaquine doses could have significant impact on global burden of malaria

MORU

On Sunday 25 April, World Malaria Day, the Developing Paediatric Primaquine (DPP) project will launch its website. DPP will produce children-appropriate primaquine doses that could both cut malaria deaths in vulnerable African children by blocking transmission of P. falciparum malaria and reduce P. vivax malaria more widely.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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!

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