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The Cambodia Oxford Medical Research Unit (COMRU) was established in 2007 as a collaboration between the Angkor Hospital for Children and MORU. The first step in this collaboration was to equip the Angkor Hospital with a microbiological laboratory, and to train the Hospital's technical staff. COMRU are now using this facility to prospectively define the causes of febrile illness and establish susceptibility patterns of common culturable bacterial pathogens.

Comru hospital

The Angkor Hospital for Children (AHC) is a non-profit paediatric teaching hospital and clinical training site for Cambodian doctors, medical students, nursing students and health workers that provides free, quality healthcare to children in Cambodia. An affiliated satellite clinic is located at the Sotnikum district referral hospital, about 35km southeast of Siem Reap.

Despite recently graduating to lower middle income status, Cambodia remains one of the poorest nations in Southeast Asia with high rates of neonatal, infant and childhood mortality.

Research at COMRU is focused around the important causes of morbidity and mortality in Cambodian children. The unit has a well-equipped diagnostic and research microbiology laboratory onsite at AHC, including facilities for bacterial culture, molecular pathogen identification/ characterisation and serological testing. It also carries out research in the community of Siem Reap Province, particularly in the large, rural and very poor district of Sotnikum.

The COMRU infrastructure has developed considerably during this reporting period. Notably the Unit now has both an office manager (Cambodian) and laboratory manager (expatriate). Progress has been made towards ensuring that the microbiology laboratory is of international accreditation standard.

Our team

COMRU Research Highlights

  • Antimicrobial-resistant Gram-negative colonization in infants from a neonatal intensive care unit in Thailand

    Posted 31/05/2019. Drug-resistant infections caused by Enterobacteriaceae, a family of Gram-negative bacteria, account for a high and increasing disease burden amongst hospitalised neonates in Southeast Asia; carbapenem-resistant strains are particularly important because of limited antibiotic treatment options. Tamalee Roberts and colleagues found that nearly two thirds of infants in a neonatal unit in Thailand became asymptomatic carriers with carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae during their hospital stays. This work indicates a critical need for interventions to reduce this usually hidden reservoir of drug-resistant bacteria.

  • Microbiology Investigation Criteria for Reporting Objectively (MICRO): a framework for the reporting and interpretation of clinical microbiology data

    Posted 07/05/2019. Developed by Paul Turner and fellow members of the Oxford Tropical Network, the MICRO framework provides the scientific community with clear guidance on reporting and interpretation of clinical microbiology and antimicrobial resistance (AMR) data. Use of the framework will result in publication of better quality data for use in the global fight against AMR. The MICRO guideline is also posted on the EQUATOR website