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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

Asymptomatic individuals shown to transmit SARS-CoV-2 infection in Vietnam

OUCRU Publication Research

Dr Le Van Tan in OUCRU, in collaboration with the Hospital for Tropical Diseases and the Department of Health, has shown that it is common for people who are infected with the virus that causes COVID-19 (SARS-CoV-2) to have no symptoms whatsoever. By testing quarantined people in Vietnam, his team was able to detect asymptomatic individuals. The virus disappeared faster from the bodies of the asymptomatic carriers than from that of symptomatic individuals, but it appeared that some of them still managed to pass the infection on to others.

Ebola vaccine approved for use by the European Commission

@Oxford Research

The European Commission has granted Marketing Authorisation to Janssen for a new Ebola vaccine, developed in partnership with the University of Oxford. The Ebola vaccine has already been deployed in the North Kivu region of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), following recommendation from the WHO’s Strategic Advisory Group of Experts (SAGE), and in Rwanda – following conditional approval in 2019 under an ‘exceptional emergency’ – as part of outbreak containment efforts in the region.

Malaria elimination at risk as Ghana economy improves

@Oxford Publication

Ghana cut malaria deaths by 65% from 2005 to 2015. In a paper published in the Malaria Journal, Rima Shretta estimates that the COVID-19 outbreak threatens this progress, as lockdowns limit access to health facilities and preventive malaria interventions have been interrupted. Ghana’s transition to a lower middle income status results in lower donor support for malaria control, and the government must step up to avert a feared rise in cases.

No clinical benefit from use of lopinavir-ritonavir in hospitalised COVID-19 patients studied in RECOVERY

@Oxford Research

The RECOVERY trial was established in March as a randomised clinical trial to test a range of potential treatments for COVID-19, including lopinavir-ritonavir, an antiviral treatment commonly used to treat HIV. There was no significant difference in the primary endpoint of 28-day mortality, and the results were consistent in different subgroups of patients. There was also no evidence of beneficial effects on the risk of progression to mechanical ventilation or length of hospital stay. The trial Steering Committee concluded that there is no beneficial effect of lopinavir-ritonavir in patients hospitalised with COVID-19 and closed that treatment arm.

UK regulator gives green light to clinical trial of hydroxychloroquine to prevent Covid-19 in healthcare workers

MORU Research

The UK regulator MHRA announced on 26 June that it would again permit recruitment to the COPCOV COVID-19 prevention clinical trial. The MHRA decision came 5 weeks after it reacted immediately to the now-discredited paper published in The Lancet suggesting harms with hydroxychloroquine, and paused recruitment of UK participants. But The Lancet paper was based on fabricated data and was swiftly retracted. After this interruption, recruitment around the globe to COPCOV can now resume.

COVID-19 and the generation, dissemination, and use of evidence. For public-health decision-making or for profit?

@Oxford

Blog by Piero Olliaro, Professor of Poverty-Related Infectious Diseases and ISARIC Director of Science, following the publication - and retraction - of scientific articles about the risks of treating COVID-19 with (hydroxy)chloroquine. This calls for the reflection on how decisions are made, how the underlying ‘evidence’ is generated and disseminated, and how exposed and vulnerable to manipulation the system we rely upon is.

Regional Social and Epidemiological Vulnerability to COVID-19 in Kenya

KWTRP Publication

Epidemics and pandemics disproportionately affect populations with greater impacts on the most vulnerable and less resilient communities. Hence Kenya’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic calls for more context adapted public health measures reflecting our improved understanding of who is the most vulnerable and their geographical location. This policy brief presents evidence on localized vulnerability indices to identify areas and people who require greater support while highlighting inequities to inform the COVID-19 response in Kenya.

Why protesting racism during a pandemic is important – an epidemiologist explains

@Oxford General

The Conversation article, by Lakshmi Manoharan, Medical Epidemiologist. Widespread protests have broken out across the US in response to the killings of black Americans at the hands of police. Demonstrations have also erupted in the UK and other countries in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement and in protest at these countries’ own domestic cases of institutional racism. These protests are happening in the middle of a pandemic, which raises issues regarding the spread of the virus, and also highlights deep inequalities due to structural racism and its effects on people’s health. Although health authorities rightly discourage congregations of people, these protests may be the only way for the systemically disenfranchised to have their voices heard.

Dexamethasone reduces death in hospitalised patients with severe respiratory complications of COVID-19

@Oxford Research

The RECOVERY trial tests a range of potential treatments for COVID-19, including low-dose dexamethasone (a steroid treatment). Patients were randomised to receive dexamethasone 6 mg once per day for ten days and were compared with patients receiving usual care alone. Dexamethasone reduced deaths by one-third in ventilated patients and by one-fifth in other patients receiving oxygen only; there was no benefit among those patients who did not require respiratory support. Based on these results, 1 death would be prevented by treatment of around 8 ventilated patients or around 25 patients requiring oxygen alone.

Major medical journals retract Covid-19 studies

General MORU

On 4 June 2020, after a week of increasing scientific concern and scrutiny, first The Lancet, then the New England Journal of Medicine, retracted studies that were based on inaccessible data. The studies have been extremely damaging to chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine COVID-19 clinical trials around the globe. MORU researchers played a key role in bringing this scandal to light, whose consequences continue to play out.

No clinical benefit from use of hydroxychloroquine in hospitalised patients with COVID-19

@Oxford Research

A new statement has been released from Professor Peter Horby and Professor Martin Landray, Chief Investigators of the RECOVERY Trial. RECOVERY was established in March as a randomised clinical trial to test a range of potential drugs for COVID-19, including hydroxycholoroquine. The trial has proceeded at unprecedented speed, enrolling over 11,000 patients from 175 NHS hospitals in the UK. The chief investigators have concluded that there is no beneficial effect of hydroxychloroquine in patients hospitalised with COVID-19.

Clinical trials on hydroxychloroquine/ chloroquine in COVID-19. Statement in response to damaging recent events

General MORU Publication

On 4 June 2020, after a week of increasing scientific concern and scrutiny, first The Lancet, then a little over an hour later the New England Journal of Medicine, retracted studies that were based on inaccessible data, provided by the Surgisphere corporation. The studies have been extremely damaging to chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine COVID-19 clinical trials around the globe. Here is MORU’s statement in response to these events.

Mitigating the Socio-economic impacts of physical distancing in African countries

KWTRP Publication

What are the health and socio-economic impacts of physical distancing in African countries and how can they be mitigated? This work by Edwine Barasa and colleagues reviews the effects of physical distancing restrictions and recommends that African countries need to consider the broader net benefit of measures that they choose to implement and to adapt and localize their response to align with the contextual realities of the continent, and to optimize expected benefits of physical distancing, while minimizing the undesired impacts.

How Vietnam managed to keep its coronavirus death toll at zero

OUCRU

Despite a long border with China and a population of 97 million people, Vietnam has recorded only just over 300 cases of Covid-19 and not a single death. The country very quickly enacted measures such as travel restrictions, monitoring and eventually closing border with China, closing schools and increasing health checks at borders and other vulnerable places. A vast and labour intensive contact tracing operation got under way. Quarantine on such a vast scale is key as evidence mounts that as many as half of all infected people are asymptomatic.

An open letter to Richard Horton, editor of The Lancet regarding Mehra et al

General

The results of Mehra et al in The Lancet have had a considerable impact on public health practice and research, halted trials and caused considerable concern to participants and patients enrolled in randomised controlled trials (RCTs). This has led many researchers around the world to scrutinise in detail the publication and outline their concerns in this letter to Richard Horton, editor of The Lancet.

Global clinical trial of 40,000+ healthcare workers begins to test in UK if chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine can prevent COVID-19

MORU Research

A global study to test if either chloroquine or hydroxychloroquine can prevent COVID-19 in vital frontline healthcare workers will open to UK participants at hospital sites in Brighton and Oxford today.

RECOVERY How to set up a trial in nine days

@Oxford Research

The COVID-19 pandemic has seen some extraordinary medical feats and achievements, which are being rightly celebrated. Researchers at Oxford University have been at the forefront of global efforts, including the first human trials of a COVID-19 vaccine, and the world’s biggest trial of potential COVID-19 treatments, RECOVERY.

CoMo Consortium, the COVID-19 pandemic modelling in context

@Oxford Research

The COVID-19 International Modelling Consortium (CoMo Consortium) was created by researchers at the University of Oxford and Cornell University, is partnering with infectious disease modellers and public health experts from over 40 countries in Africa, Asia and America. The CoMo Consortium uses a participatory approach to provide decision-making support to policymakers, using evidence from epidemiological and economic models adapted to each country’s context.

TGHN and the Family Larsson Rosenquist Foundation launch LactaHub today

@Oxford Research

The Global Health Network and the Family Larsson Rosenquist Foundation (FLRF) launch LactaHub: an open access knowledge platform featuring scientific and evidence-based information on breastfeeding and breastmilk for health professionals

SEBCOV study launched

MORU Research

The SEBCOV study aims to produce evidence to inform public health measures such as communications, quarantine, self-isolation, social distancing and travel restrictions for the COVID-19 pandemic. This study is run in four countries: UK, Thailand, Italy and Malaysia.

Results of remdesivir trial released

@Oxford Publication Research

The results of a placebo-controlled randomised trial of remdesivir in COVID-19 patients have been published in the Lancet. Supported by the ISARIC Support Centre, scientists in China launched a trial of remdesivir in patients hospitalised with COVID-19. The results found no clinical benefit from use of the drug; however, while not statistically significant, the time to clinical improvement and duration of invasive mechanical ventilation were shorter in people treated with remdesivir.

PAL forest malaria prophylaxis study begins in Cambodia

MORU Research

The Epidemiology Department of MORU and National Malaria Control Programme, Cambodia (CNM) have begun to implement a study to assess the efficacy of prophylaxis with artemether-lumefantrine (PAL) against forest malaria in Siem Pang District, north-eastern Cambodia bordering Laos.

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