ERGO is launching ALERRT, a multi-disciplinary consortium building a patient-centered clinical research network to respond to epidemics across sub-Saharan Africa. ALERRT aims to reduce the public health and socio-economic impact of disease outbreaks in sub-Saharan Africa by building a sustainable clinical and laboratory research preparedness and response network.
Posted 05/03/2021. Prevention of mother to child transmission of Hepatitis B can be challenging in resource limited settings. Marieke Bierhoff and colleagues look at strategies that might be more feasible in these settings. TDF (tenofovir disoproxil fumarate) after rapid diagnostic test may be a more feasible strategy to implement in resource limited settings, TDF after hepatitis B e-antigen test is a cheaper option.
Posted 02/03/2021. Direk Limmathurotsakul and colleagues show that a Sepsis Fast Track (SFT) programme, implemented in Thailand to screen, initiate sepsis care and fast-track them when applicable to ICU upon admission, are associated with higher chances of survival. We analyzed data of a prospective observational study, having control group from both pre and post-intervention periods.
Posted 12/06/2020. Safety of drugs is important, particularly during pregnancy. Makoto Saito and colleagues have pooled the data of 4503 women who had malaria in pregnancy and found that the currently used artemisinin-based combination therapies are equally safe for fetus. This study also highlights that risk of small-for-gestational-age (SGA) is high after malaria in pregnancy even treated with highly efficacious drugs, suggesting that prevention is important for reducing SGA in malaria endemic areas.
Posted 14/04/2020. Enormous emergency efforts are underway to find optimal medical products, to prevent, diagnose, and treat COVID-19, that 7.8 billion people will depend on. With dire disruption of pharmaceutical production and supply and increasing falsified and substandard products, we need strategic planning now to ensure global access to quality-assured medical products and monitoring of supply chains
Posted 17/03/2017. An investigation conducted by the international medical organisation Médecins Sans Frontières revealed that over a thousand people in a remote area of the Democratic Republic of Congo suffered toxic effects after ingesting fake diazepam pills. The research was published in The Lancet Global Health with contribution from Prof Paul Newton from IDDO and LOMWRU.
Posted 02/07/2019. Highly efficacious treatment can limit the cumulative deleterious impact of malaria during pregnancy on the mother and fetus. Correct assessment of treatment efficacy with an adequate length of follow up is required. Makoto Saito and colleagues at the Shoklo Malaria Research Unit (SMRU) on the Thailand-Myanmar border suggest that pregnant women need to be followed up longer than the currently recommended duration of follow-up to assess antimalarial drug efficacy.
Posted 01/09/2020. This paper provides an overview of FIEBRE’s activities. The study aims to identify infections that are treatable and/or preventable, to assess antimicrobial susceptibility of bacterial pathogens and to collect qualitative data on care-seeking and treatment behaviours. Paul Newton and colleagues detail clinical and laboratory assessments, data analysis plan, and outline the study’s strengths and limitations.
Posted 13/11/2020. Use of antimicrobials in animals and the environment has been established to contribute to the global antimicrobial resistance (AMR), and yet there have been inadequate collaborative efforts to tackle this problem. Sunil Pokharel, Bipin Adhikari and colleagues discuss how and why ‘One health’ approach is important to tackle antimicrobial resistance.
Posted 01/10/2019. In the light of the alarming global increase in diabetes, Kartika Saraswati and colleagues at the LOMWRU-IDDO Medicine Quality team found few investigations on the quality of antidiabetics and supplies for self-monitoring of blood glucose. However, poor quality medical products were identified on four continents. This important public health issue should thus be further investigated.
Posted 27/10/2020. Madeleine Clarkson, Paul Newton and colleagues reviewed when individual species of human pathogens were described in Laos, and estimated the in-country diversity and how many more pathogens there may be. Combining modelling with historical assessment improved understanding of the factors affecting pathogen description. During the last decade there has been a 33-fold increase in the description rate, coinciding with the strengthening of medical research in Laos.
Posted 09/02/2021. Wirichada Pan-ngum and colleagues address key knowledge gaps on human-animal-water-source interactions and leptospirosis in high-risk settings, Thailand. Water-source sharing networks and human–animal contact patterns are key information potentially involved in the epidemiology of leptospirosis. Occupations related to animals/environmental water and consuming water from more than two sources increased the risk exposure to leptospirosis.
Posted 05/01/2021. Diagnosing rickettsial infections is difficult in low-resource settings; this leads to delays in receiving appropriate treatment. Before this study the distribution of rickettsioses in Myanmar was not known. This report of a serosurvey by Philip Elders, Elizabeth Ashley and colleagues shows rickettsioses are widespread in Myanmar, with high scrub typhus prevalence in central and northern regions.
Posted 08/12/2020. “No bacterial culture, no drug-resistant infections.” Cherry Lim, Direk Limmathurotsakul and colleagues show that the impact of low blood culture utilization on the observed proportions and incidences of drug-resistant infections could be high. This is likely happening in most of LMICs. A set of recommendations are proposed.
Posted 18/12/2020. Lorenz Von Seidlein and colleagues observed that poorest people in rural Tanzania were the oldest people and especially old people without children. This observation came as a surprise because generation, the baby boomers has accumulated wealth throughout life and ended up wealthier by the time they reached retirement. There is a need to provide more financial and housing security for older people in rural Africa. Currently for many older people in rural Africa the only security are their children.
Posted 11/12/2020. COVID-19 has hit informal urban settlements particularly hard. The control and prevention of COVID-19 in slums starts with organizing community infrastructure, provision of basic needs and protection of people at highest risk. Slums are a source for persistent transmission. In view of the constant risk that slums present to the entire population decisive steps need to be taken to rehabilitate and improve informal settlements, Lorenz Von Seidlein and colleagues provide suggestions.
Posted 15/12/2020. A recent study co-led by Paul Turner and colleagues at COMRU identified extremely high prevalence of antimicrobial resistant (AMR) bacterial carriage in households from Siem Reap, Cambodia. Extended-spectrum beta-lactamase producing Escherichia coli were detected in stool samples from >90% of participants. The results highlight the challenges to AMR control in locations where antibiotic overuse is common.
Posted 04/12/2020. Paul Turner and COMRU researchers, working with Cambodia’s University of Health Sciences and Fondation Merieux, evaluated recently the potential of MALDI-TOF-based serotyping of Streptococcus pneumoniae for vaccine impact surveillance. Despite early promise, the team found that MALDI-TOF performed poorly and should not replace existing serotyping methodologies.
Posted 01/12/2020. This paper confirms that research is important to inform evidence-based medical care in LMICs settings. Napat Khirikoekkong, Phaik Yeong Cheah and colleagues found that migrants living along the Thai-Myanmar border, who were traditionally deemed vulnerable, exercise their agency and resourcefulness when navigating through their daily challenges, and participating in important health research
Posted 27/11/2020. The migrant-friendly residential TB program of SMRU on the Thailand-Myanmar border has achieved high treatment success rate. However, many TB patients admitted to the centers are in advanced stage of disease. Win Pa Pa Htun and colleagues show that early TB death (in the first month of treatment) is highest among pulmonary TB cases and in particular in HIV co-infected patients and in those with co-morbidity. Early detection and treatment for both TB and HIV are crucial for migrants, if the case fatality rate is to be reduced in this marginalized population.
Posted 24/11/2020. Malaria Screener is a smartphone application developed by the National Library of Medicine, in partnership with Richard Maude and colleagues at MORU Epidemiology, aiming to improve the availability of high quality malaria diagnosis. It is cheap, fast and easy-to-use with a standard smartphone and microscope and detects malaria parasites by machine learning.
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.
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 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.
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 – 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.
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.