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.
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
- Influenza / emerging viral infections
- 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 Research Highlights
Posted 10/07/2018. The decline of malaria in Vietnam can largely be attributed to the use of artemisinin-combination therapy (ACT) for case management. Recent analyses from Africa showed that insecticide-treated nets had the greatest effect on lowering malaria prevalence, suggesting that the success of interventions is region-specific. Malaria elimination efforts should focus on both vector control and increased access to ACT.
Clinical recommendations for high altitude exposure of individuals with pre-existing cardiovascular conditions
Posted 19/06/2018. Many people with pre-existing heart problems (including heart attack, pacemaker implantation, arrhythmia), high blood pressure and even past history of a stroke seek advice regarding high altitude travel ( > 2500m) for recreation, meetings or pilgrimages. Dr Buddha Basnyat and colleagues succinctly try to address these conditions at altitude and make reasonable recommendations in the face of limited data.
Posted 30/05/2018. Drug resistant bacterial infections are becoming a major problem. Genomics has become a fundamental tool for tracking bacteria and provides us with the data and knowledge to begin to initiate a response. Stephen Baker and colleagues discuss how resistant bacteria emerge and spread and outline some approaches and knowledge gaps that can help us tackle this global heath emergency.
Posted 01/05/2018. Hand, foot and mouth disease is a major public-health issue in Asia. Herein, Dr Tan and colleagues at OUCRU report the first detection of emerging coxsackievirus A6 among hand, foot and mouth disease patients in Vietnam, and document how this emerging virus evolves and spreads in space and time.