Cookies on this website
We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Continue' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

The Shoklo Malaria Research Unit (SMRU) led Malaria Elimination Task Force has undertaken mass drug administration campaigns in Eastern Karen State, Myanmar in areas with a high sub microscopic Plasmodium falciparum parasite prevalence.

A child taking pills

Mass drug administration (MDA) is used in villages where a high percentage of people are confirmed positive for P. falciparum by ultra-sensitive qPCR. It works by eliminating this sub-microscopic reservoir of parasites and therefore probably reduces the risk of malaria transmission. In this region most of the P.falciparum isolates are resistant to artemisinins.

SMRU qPCR surveys detected 29 high prevalence hotspots in Myanmar’s Eastern Karen State, many of them hard to access. So far, 19 of these villages have undergone or are receiving mass drug administration. Only one village initially refused to participate. But thanks to community engagement efforts and the dedication and patience of our Community Engagement Team led by Ladda (Micho) Kajeechiwa, the villagers finally agreed to participate in the MDA. Overall, more than 80% of all villagers in hotspots have participated in these MDA campaigns – a very good result, as 80% is the target for effective mass drug administration.

Funded by the Wellcome Trust, The Global Fund and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Malaria Elimination Task Force began in July 2014. This is a collaboration between SMRU and local Karen community-based organisations. The main activities include GIS mapping, community engagement, qPCR surveys to find malaria hotspots and verify that a village qualifies for mass drug administration, mosquito catching, and running malaria posts operated by villagers and using RDTs and ACTs and reporting data on a weekly basis.

Based in Mae Sot, Thailand since 1986, SMRU is a Unit of the Mahidol Oxford Tropical Medicine Research Unit (MORU), which was established in 1979 as a research collaboration between Mahidol University (Thailand), University of Oxford (UK) and the Wellcome Trust.

For more information, kindly contact John Bleho.

Similar stories

Risks of serious adverse events following treatment for visceral leishmaniasis

OCGHR Publication Research

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 RECOVERY Trial: One year on

OCGHR Research

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 Publication Research

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 Publication Research

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.

New report highlights growing concern of vaccine falsification

MORU OCGHR

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.

RECOVERY trial closes recruitment to colchicine treatment for patients hospitalised with COVID-19

OCGHR Research

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.