The Africa Oxford Initiative (AfOx) invites applications for the 2019 AfOx Visiting Fellowships Programme. Our programme is designed to enhance academic mobility and network building. We support African scholars and researchers working over various areas to spend periods of flexible time in Oxford.
Posted 04/05/2021. This survey in Jakarta, Indonesia, led by Licia Limato & Raph Hamers, evaluated patterns and quality indicators of antibiotic prescribing in six public and private hospitals. The study reported a high rate of empirical use of broad-spectrum antibiotics, coupled with poor documentation and guideline adherence, suggesting important areas for antimicrobial stewardship interventions.
Posted 09/04/2021. Survivorship after an intensive care unit (ICU) stay is associated with long-term disability throughout the world. Nguyen Thi Kim Anh, Louise Thwaites and colleagues designed, implemented and evaluated the feasibility of a sustainable ICU rehabilitation programme in a resource-limited setting with the aim of improving the long-term outcome of critically ill patients.
Posted 23/03/2021. In tuberculous meningitis, raised intracranial pressure often results in irreversible neurological injury. In this study of 107 participants with tuberculous meningitis, Joseph Donovan and colleagues show how optic nerve sheath diameter ultrasound may provide a low-cost point-of-care option for the identification of individuals with raised intracranial pressure in tuberculous meningitis
Posted 12/03/2021. Henry Surendra, Raph Hamers and colleagues report a large retrospective study of patients hospitalised with COVID-19 in Jakarta, Indonesia. In-hospital mortality was lower than reported in high-income countries, likely explained by the younger population, fewer comorbidities and less severe disease. Nonetheless, this study affirmed the vulnerability of elderly and comorbid patients as well as children under 5 years in LMICs
Posted 02/02/2021. Indiscriminate antimicrobial use (AMU) in animal production is a driver of antimicrobial resistance globally. In this trial, Juan Carrique-Mas and colleague provided regular veterinary advice to chicken farmers in Vietnam aiming to reducing AMU. AMU was quantitatively reduced by 66% and flock mortality by 40%. This study demonstrates that reductions in AMU without compromising health and productivity can be achieved in LMICs.
Posted 22/01/2021. Raph Hamers and colleagues conducted a multi-country prospective study of Africans with HIV-1 on suppressive antiretroviral therapy. Plasma concentrations of sCD14 and CRP predicted subsequent poor CD4+ T-cell recovery, and CXCL10 and sCD163 predicted viral rebound. Further research is needed to increase our understanding of and to explore the potential for adjunctive therapeutic interventions targeting these pathways.
Posted 19/01/2021. Tan Le Van and colleagues show that metagenomics could detect enteroviruses (n=23), hepatitis B virus (3), HIV (2), molluscum contagiosum virus (1) and germycircularvirus (1) in 14.7% of 204 cerebrospinal fluid from Vietnamese patients presenting with central nervous system infections of unknown origin. It remains a challenge to identify a plausible cause in patients with brain infections.
Posted 12/01/2021. Azithromycin is effectively the last remaining oral antimicrobial to treat typhoid fever and is widely used for empirical therapy in South Asia. Although azithromycin resistance in Salmonella Typhi has rarely been reported, Abhilasha Karkey and colleagues show that an increasing reliance on this drug has led to the emergence of azithromycin resistant S. Typhi in the region.
Posted 20/11/2020. Providing compensation for participants in clinical research is well established but defining compensation in low-resource settings is challenging due to ethical concerns and the lack of appropriate frameworks. Evelyne Kestelyn and colleagues at OUCRU Vietnam developed a compensation and reimbursement framework, providing a consistent, fair and transparent decision-making process that will be implemented across all future clinical research.
Posted 17/11/20. Rogier van Doorn and colleagues show that antibiotics were prescribed to almost all 500 children with mild respiratory infection presenting to an outpatient clinic. They assessed prior antibiotic use by questionnaire and urine testing (HPLC), and reported overuse and overprescription of antibiotics when most respiratory infections are caused by viruses, and selection of resistant Enterobacteriaceae in gutflora with transmission potential.
Posted 20/10/2020. Buddha Basnyat and colleagues describe findings from NUFIT, the Nepal Undifferentiated Febrile Illness Trial, a randomized, double blind, placebo controlled trial. The trial revealed that 7 days of sulphamethoxazole-trimethoprim (Bactrim) is inferior to azithromycin in the treatment of undifferentiated febrile illness (fever without a focus) and enteric fever in Nepal and the wider region in South Asia.
Posted 11/09/2020. Nineteen different enterovirus serotypes were detected in 1196 Vietnamese children presenting with hand foot and mouth disease during 2015-2018. Le Van Tan and colleagues show that EV-A71 was the major cause, especially in those with severe disease, followed by CV-A6, CV-A10 and CV-A16. Multivalent vaccines are urgently needed to control hand foot and mouth disease.
Posted 19/06/2018. Many people with pre-existing heart problems (including heart attack, pacemaker implantation, arrhythmia), high blood pressure and even past history of a stroke seek advice regarding high altitude travel ( > 2500m) for recreation, meetings or pilgrimages. Dr Buddha Basnyat and colleagues succinctly try to address these conditions at altitude and make reasonable recommendations in the face of limited data.
Posted 17/12/2019. Typhoid fever is rampant in South Asia. This new typhoid vaccine (studied in Kathmandu, Nepal, by Buddha Basnyat and colleagues) appears to be very effective in the prevention of typhoid. Administration of the new vaccine, especially in children, will revolutionize the prevention of this disease. And, crucially, help fight typhoid treatment resistance, a burgeoning problem.
Posted 18/05/2020. The etiology of high altitude pulmonary edema (HAPE), a disease sometimes seen in sojourners to high altitude, is lack of adequate oxygen and not an inflammation provoked by an infectious agent like the novel coronavirus. Except for supplemental oxygen, Buddha Basnyat and colleagues strongly caution against managing COVID-19 lung injury with treatments that are used for HAPE.
Posted 02/04/2019: Underdiagnosed in South Asia, melioidosis is caused by a bacterium called Burkholderia pseudomallei which is often referred to as a remarkable imitator. Pulmonary involvement including infections mimicking tuberculosis is a common form of presentation. In this case report, Buddha Basnyat and colleagues show that if a South Asian patient does not respond to anti tuberculosis treatment, melioidosis should be considered.
Posted 02/10/2018. Rising prevalence of HIV drug resistance in low and middle-income countries poses a growing threat to the HIV response. To curb resistance, enhanced strategies are needed that improve quality of ART care and treatment. Raph Hamers reviews contemporary data and highlights the potential impact and resistance risks of novel ART strategies and knowledge gaps.
Posted 07/04/2017. Collaboration between photographer Pearl Gan and Professor Kevin Baird from our EOCRU unit in Jakarta, Indonesia, this photographic project aims to raise public awareness of malaria as a serious health problem for the region by telling the human story of Asia’s invisible malaria burden.
Posted 28/05/2019. Kevin Baird calls attention to the importance of local expertise in anopheline mosquito ecology as an essential weapon in striving to eliminate malaria. Slight but very specific modifications to environments that disfavour those mosquitoes achieved very significant gains before the advent of DDT insecticide and synthetic antimalarial commodities in the middle of the 20th century. Loss of those commodities, and a lack of alternative strategies, led to the great malaria resurgence of the latter 20th century.
Posted 06/08/2020. Cholesterol is required for efficient dengue virus (DENV) replication, however statin treatment did not show efficacy against dengue in clinical trials, and underscored the need for a more detailed understanding of the interaction between DENV and cellular cholesterol. In this paper, in collaboration with DUKE-NUS, Sophie Yacoub and colleagues demonstrate the pivotal role of PCSK9 in DENV infections.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.