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The Oxford University Clinical Research Unit is a large-scale clinical and public health research unit based in Vietnam. We are hosted by the Hospital of Tropical Diseases in Ho Chi Minh City, and the National Hospital for Tropical Diseases in Hanoi. We also have sister units in Kathmandu, and Jakarta. As a Wellcome Programme, we have received considerable support from Wellcome since our establishment in 1991.

Oucru benh vien hospital

Oxford University Clinical Research Unit in Vietnam (OUCRU) was established in 1991 and is one of the Wellcome Asia Programmes. We are based within the Ho Chi Minh City Hospital for Tropical Diseases (HTD), at tertiary referral hospital for infectious diseases for southern Vietnam, under the direction of the Health Service of Ho Chi Minh City and the Ministry of Health. OUCRU also has a base in the capital Hanoi at the National Institute of Infectious & Tropical Diseases (NHTD) and has satellite research units in Kathmandu (Nepal) and Jakarta (Indonesia).

OUCRU has a large clinical and scientific research programme which focuses on the most significant infectious diseases in Vietnam. Many of these are also among the greatest threats to global health in the 21st century. The work covers clinical research and aspects of immunology, host and pathogen genetics, molecular biology, virology, mathematical modelling, bioinformatics, biostatistics, health economics and epidemiology. The research is supported by its extensive Clinical Trials Unit and Data Management Centre. It concentrates on the following core areas:

  • Central nervous system infections
  • Opportunistic infections in HIV
  • Dengue
  • Tuberculosis
  • Influenza / emerging viral infections
  • Malaria
  • Typhoid / enteric infections
  • Antimicrobial resistance

OUCRU has established a formal training programme for Vietnamese and expatriate clinicians and scientists in partnership with HTD in Ho Chi Minh City and NHTD in Hanoi, the Health Services and national universities. The programme includes training courses for postdoctoral scientists and research clinicians, and medical elective placements. In addition, OUCRU offers internationally registered PhD fellowships.

OUCRU promotes better understanding and communication of science and health issues in the social, cultural and historical context of communities. The OUCRU public engagement team aims to bring the local communities together with the scientists by involving them in the research, and by improving understanding of the public’s motivations and perceptions. Initiatives such as science theatre productions and media writing generate dialogue and help to develop appreciation of value and need for scientific research.

Interview with Guy Thwaites, OUCRU director, in 2018:

Interview with Guy Thwaites in 2014:

OUCRU Researchers

OUCRU Research Units

Latest news

Picturing health: dengue in Vietnam published in The Lancet

Earlier this year, OUCRU Photographer in Residence Pearl Gan conducted a project focusing on dengue. In that project, she took photos of dengue patients and health care workers at the Hospital for Tropical Diseases in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. She also took photos of dengue patients in their homes and at research sites in the city. This project was funded by the Wellcome Trust, and this week selected photos from that project have been published in The Lancet as a photo story.

The practice and ethics of participatory visual methods for community engagement in public health and health science

Mary Chambers (OUCRU Public Engagement Vietnam) and Gill Black (Sustainable Livelihood Foundation, South Africa) have partnered with The Global Health Network training centre to published this online course and handbook

Pearl Gan, photographer in residence at OUCRU in Vietnam and EOCRU in Indonesia wins FIGO's 2019 photo competition

A mother and her baby leave a Puskesmas - a government-mandated primary care clinic - in West Java, Indonesia, following a check-up. The woman smiles, as the infant stares out from the safety of a bright sarong wrap. This quiet moment of active participation in their own health and well-being is the realisation of a fundamental human right. WHO’s vision for primary health care in the 21st century is to ensure the highest possible level of health and well-being, with equitable distribution.

OUCRU Research Highlights

The affordability of antimicrobials for animals and humans at retail in Vietnam: A call for revising pricing policies

Posted 07/06/2019. Juan Carrique-Mas and colleagues quantified the retail prices of the most common antimicrobials used in chicken farms in Vietnam. By comparing these costs with antibiotics for human use, they conclude that extreme low prices of antimicrobials for animal production may be a major factor driving excessive use. The authors advocate for a taxing system that restricts the use of critically important antimicrobials in agriculture.

Essential guidance on malaria elimination in its history

Posted 28/05/2019. Kevin Baird calls attention to the importance of local expertise in anopheline mosquito ecology as an essential weapon in striving to eliminate malaria. Slight but very specific modifications to environments that disfavour those mosquitoes achieved very significant gains before the advent of DDT insecticide and synthetic antimalarial commodities in the middle of the 20th century. Loss of those commodities, and a lack of alternative strategies, led to the great malaria resurgence of the latter 20th century.

Intrathecal Immunoglobulin for treatment of adult patients with tetanus

Posted 15/05/2019. Tetanus antitoxin is a vital component of tetanus treatment. In this clinical trial currently running at OUCRU Ho Chi Minh City, Louise Thwaites and colleagues test whether, in addition to standard intramuscular injection of antitoxin, antitoxin given directly into the central nervous system is beneficial in adult patients with tetanus.

Dynamic prediction of death in patients with tuberculous meningitis

Posted 10/05/2019. Previously, Ronald Geskus and colleagues developed a model based on information at diagnosis that provides mortality risk prediction for patients with tuberculosis meningitis. Prediction improves when we use time-updated Glasgow coma score and plasma sodium collected during the disease course. Our model and accompanying app help define patients with poor prognosis.