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The Lao-Oxford-Mahosot Hospital-Wellcome Trust Research Unit (LOMWRU) is the MORU Tropical Health Network’s unit in the Lao PDR (Laos), active since 2002. LOMWRU’s headquarters are in the capital city, Vientiane, where it is embedded within the Microbiology Laboratory of Mahosot Hospital.

Directed by Elizabeth Ashley, the unit has 85 research and support staff. One third are Lao government staff led by Dr Manivanh Vongsouvath and the remainder are project funded LOMWRU staff. In Vientiane LOMWRU has conventional bacteriology, molecular and serology laboratories and the first BSL3 laboratory in Laos for rickettsial, Mycobacterium spp., B. pseudomallei and viral culture. We conduct clinical studies on a wide range of infectious diseases in Vientiane and also at a number of provincial hospitals and field sites in rural Laos and participates in multicentre studies across the MORU Network.

LOMWRU’s main objective is to conduct clinical research on diseases of public health importance, to contribute directly to health improvement in Laos and similar communities with little health information across Asia. LOMWRU builds diagnostic, clinical and research capacity and, with the WorldWide Antimalarial Resistance Network (WWARN) and the Infectious Diseases Data Observatory (IDDO), conducts a diversity of research projects on medicine quality epidemiology, diagnostics, forensics and advocacy.

LOMWRU supports the infectious disease diagnostic service of Mahosot Hospital and assists other Lao hospitals, including in the investigation of epidemics. We have over 75 collaborations, 16 within Lao PDR, and 45 International collaborations (in addition to collaborations with MORU, SMRU, COMRU, MOCRU and OUCRU).

Our team

LOMWRU 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

Community engagement, social context and coverage of mass anti-malarial administration

Posted 16/04/2019. Lorenz Von Seidlein and colleagues in Thailand, Myanmar, Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos explored what happens to malaria transmission when all people residing in a village are treated with antimalarials at the same time, whether they are sick or not. They demonstrated that providing the necessary information is important, but building trust between residents and the team providing the antimalarials is most critical for success.

Molecular characterization and mapping of G6PD mutations in the Greater Mekong Subregion

Posted 19/02/2019. Germana Bancone and colleagues characterized glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase deficiency in over 10 thousand samples collected in 138 villages in Cambodia, Lao PDR, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam, showing a country-level prevalence in males ranging from 7.3% to 18.8%. Given this high prevalence, G6PD testing should be carried out in the Greater Mekong Subregion before P. vivax radical cure with 8-aminoquinolines.