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Peter Horby receives prestigious award for outstanding service to public health

Awards & Appointments OCGHR

The Faculty of Public Health has awarded its prestigious Alwyn Smith Prize to Professor Sir Peter Horby for 2020/2021 in recognition of his outstanding service to public health as a global leader in epidemic science.

Peter Macharia wins RSTMH Emerging Leader Award

Awards & Appointments KWTRP

Peter Macharia is a spatial epidemiologist and a postdoc interested in disease mapping, healthcare access and mapping population vulnerabilities at KEMRI Wellcome. He received the RSTMH 2021 Emerging Leader Award, which recognises significant contributions in leadership, mentoring and capacity building in those who are early in their careers.

Lack of evidence is key barrier to using portable devices to detect poor quality medicines

LOMWRU MORU OCGHR

A series of papers which reviewed portable devices to detect poor quality medicines has concluded major gaps in scientific evidence remain a key barrier for regulators to implement surveillance systems using such devices.

Second most common malaria parasite takes unrealized toll on human health

EOCRU OUCRU

The malaria parasite Plasmodium vivax causes frequent, chronic infections that represent a major unrecognized burden on global health, according to a review by Kevin Baird of the Eijkman-Oxford Clinical Research Unit in Indonesia and Katherine Battle of the Institute for Disease Modeling in the United States

RECOVERY Trial paper on dexamethasone wins BMJ’s 2021 UK Research Paper of the Year Award

Awards & Appointments OCGHR

A RECOVERY Collaborative Group paper has been announced as the 2021 winner of The British Medical Journal’s prestigious UK Research Paper of the Year Award. This award recognises original UK research that has the potential to contribute significantly to improving health and healthcare. The paper, “Dexamethasone in Hospitalized Patients with Covid-19”, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, described the discovery in June 2020 of the world’s first effective, readily available treatment for COVID-19 – the inexpensive steroid, dexamethasone.

Tropical Medicine DPhil Students awarded NDM Prize

Awards & Appointments MORU OCGHR

Every year, the Nuffield Department of Medicine awards NDM Prizes to our most outstanding students. This year, Mo yin and Rebecca Inglis (both at MORU) were highly commended in the category NDM Overall Prize, for conducting research with an outstanding impact. Will Schilling (MORU) received a prize as first year DPhil student, and Mohammad Ali (OCGHR) as second year DPhil student. Our warmest congratulations to you all!

New study alerts to the risk of poor quality medicines used to prevent and treat cardiovascular disease

MORU OCGHR

There are important but neglected issues with substandard and falsified medicines and medical products used to prevent and treat cardiovascular diseases. From limited available data, MORU and IDDO scientists found about one fifth of medicines reported as sampled in the literature were substandard or falsified. This systematic review suggests that more and better quality data and data sharing are needed to better understand the global burden of this problem and inform interventions.

Oxford and Oracle partner to speed identification of COVID-19 variants

General OUCRU

The fast spread of the highly infectious Delta variant underscores the need for faster identification of COVID-19 mutations. Uniting governments and medical communities in this challenge, the University of Oxford and Oracle’s Global Pathogen Analysis System (GPAS) is now being used by organizations on nearly every continent. Institutions using the platform include OUCRU in Vietnam and institutions in Canada, Chile, Australia and the UK. GPAS is also now part of the Public Health England New Variant Assessment Platform.

Congratulations new Associate Professors

Awards & Appointments KWTRP MORU OUCRU

Following the meeting of the Medical Sciences Divisional Committee to consider applications for the conferral of the title of Associate Professor, we are pleased to announce that Rashan Haniffa, Dorcas Kamuya, Isabella Oyier, Le Van Tan and Timothy Walker have been awarded the title Associate Professor

Systematic review identifies research gaps for Chagas disease

OCGHR

A new, large-scale systematic review published in PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases has identified clear, significant research gaps in the diagnosis and treatment of Chagas disease. The paper also highlights significant differences in study design, diagnostic methods, duration of follow-up, and the timing of outcome assessment used by investigators even in the last decade.

Reducing children’s exposure to malaria in their early years substantially cuts the risk of hospitalisation.

KWTRP

For the first time in more than two decades, a team from the KEMRI-Wellcome Trust Research Programme and University of Oxford have quantified the risk of children suffering severe outcomes from malaria - which can have a devastating impact on tens of thousands of children who are admitted to hospital with severe malaria every year.

Oxford retains top spot in world rankings for sixth consecutive year

Awards & Appointments General

The University of Oxford remains top of the table in latest Times Higher Education World University Rankings. In a year dominated by the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, the rankings reflect the vital role of universities in understanding and managing the crisis as a number of institutions around the world saw significant boosts in their citation scores from Covid-19 focused research.

Royal Society Africa Prize 2021 awarded to George Warimwe

Awards & Appointments KWTRP

The Royal Society Africa Prize 2021 is awarded to Professor George Warimwe for his work on zoonoses vaccine development, capacity building in Africa, and his innovative research proposal. This Prize recognises research scientists based in Africa who are making an innovative contribution to the sciences.

The scale of the problem of visceral leishmaniasis in pregnancy is underestimated

OCGHR

Despite the limitations and paucity of data, the most comprehensive review of visceral leishmaniasis to date in pregnant women and vertical transmission of leishmaniasis has confirmed that liposomal amphotericin B is the safest treatment option and it is critical to ensure access to this.

Tracking the introduction and spread of SARS-CoV-2 in coastal Kenya

KWTRP

A team of KWTRP scientists carried out a major genomic epidemiology of SARS-CoV-2 infections in Kenya during the early phase of the epidemic (March – July 2020). Researchers provide evidence for at least 35-40 unique introductions of the virus in the coast region – specifically the epidemic that was largely observed in Mombasa County.

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

MORU 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

KWTRP 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

OUCRU 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

MORU 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.

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