Cookies on this website

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Accept all cookies' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. If you click 'Reject all non-essential cookies' only necessary cookies providing core functionality such as security, network management, and accessibility will be enabled. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

24 May 2017, Bangkok – This April and May, the targeted malaria elimination (TME) study in Laos’ final prevalence survey evaluated new tools to detect asymptomatic malaria. These included new rapid diagnostic tests (RDTs) that may be similar in sensitivity to a PCR performed on dried blood spots and reading machines that fire a laser at RDTs and use a thermal camera to detect faint positive results that would be beyond the range of the human eye.

Composite photo of researchers participating in the targeted malaria elimination study in Lao

Developed by Intellectual Ventures Laboratory with support from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation via Global Good, both are potential new malaria elimination tools as they could identify rapidly the asymptomatic reservoir of falciparum infections. Results are expected late summer 2017 comparing the new RDTs and readers to a gold standard method of malaria detection, the quantitative PCR results from Mallika Imwong’s molecular laboratory at MORU.

A team led by LOMWRU scientists Mayfong Mayxay and Koukeo Phommasone (bottom right), Tiengkham Pongvongsa (bottom centre), head of malaria control in Savannakhet Province, and WWARN’s Mehul Dhorda and MORU’s Lorenz von Seidlein and Tom Peto hosted Kevin Nichols and Stephen Burkhor (top left) of Intellectual Ventures Laboratory (IVL) to field test the tools.

Funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the MORU TME project seeks to accelerate malaria elimination by providing mass drug administrations (MDA) to communities that have relatively high P. falciparum prevalence, access to village health malaria workers and where every household has one or more long lasting insecticide treated bed nets. The TME project operates in four Greater Mekong Subregion countries: Myanmar, Cambodia, Laos and Viet Nam.

In Laos, the TME project focuses on rural villages in Savannakhet province, which has the third highest malaria incidence in Lao PDR. A survey conducted in 18 rural villages in Savannakhet in 2015 using uPCR detected Plasmodium infections in 175 of 888 samples (20%). Most villages in Savannakhet are relatively accessible and malaria elimination has a high priority for the local government. LOMWRU’s Dr Mayfong Mayxay is the principal investigator (PI) for the Lao PDR study, while Dr Koukeo Phommasone is the field site PI.

Similar stories

MORU hepatitis work focusses on preventing mother-to-child transmission, high-at-risk populations, and remote communities

MORU Tropical Health Network researchers in Southeast Asia study various aspects of hepatitis B and C, infections that can lead to chronic liver diseases, and complications like liver cancer or cirrhosis. Researchers at MOCRU work on treatment for hepatitis C, a frequent opportunistic infection in HIV patients. MORU’s Clinical Pharmacology conducts two trials on possible treatments of hepatitis C. Hepatitis B is frequently transmitted from mother to child at birth, and SMRU researchers study mothers’ knowledge and behaviour, as well as prevention.

Incomplete reporting of COVID-19 disease severity criteria compromises meta-analysis

Patients affected by COVID-19 should be treated according to the severity of their disease. However, not all key national or international organisations define severity in the same way. This imprecision in severity assessment compromises the validity of some therapeutic recommendations. Using individual patient data would better guide and improve therapeutic recommendations for COVID-19.

Field evaluation of EasyScan GO: a digital malaria microscopy device

Microscopic examination of Giemsa-stained blood films is key to quantifying and detecting malaria parasites but there can be difficulties in ensuring both a high-quality manual reading and inter-reader reliability. The EasyScan GO was developed as a potential solution to this, a microscopy device using machine-learning-based image analysis for automated parasite detection and quantification.

Enhanced vaccination against Japanese encephalitis virus could reduce encephalitis prevalence by one third in SE Asia

Encephalitis is a worldwide public health issue, with a substantially high burden among children in Southeast Asia. A large study of the causes of childhood encephalitis in SE Asia suggests that enhanced and effective vaccination against the Japanese encephalitis virus alone could reduce encephalitis prevalence by one third.

Congratulations to Professor Sir David Warrell, appointed Knight Commander of the Order of St Michael and St George!

David Warrell, MORU founding director, has been appointed by the Queen ‘Knight Commander of the Order of St Michael and St George for services to global Health Research and Clinical Practice’. Please join us in congratulating Sir David on receiving this richly deserved high honour!

Laos’ first Pint of Science: warty newts, COVID, AI for Instagram, and more!

Organised by a grass-root community of thousands of scientists across the world, Pint of Science 2022 allows researchers in 25 countries and over 800 cities to share their latest findings with lay folk in interesting, informal settings. Lao PDR joined the global Pint of Science family on Monday 9 May, when the first-ever Pint of Science Laos kicked off!