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Oxford University Clinical Research Unit-Nepal (OUCRU-NP) is hosted by Patan Hospital and the Patan Academy of Health Sciences in Kathmandu Nepal and works in close collaboration with the Nepal Health Research Council at the Nepalese Ministry of Health and Population. Our mission is to build a strong critical mass of young Nepalese clinician scientists who can help build Nepal's scientific and clinical future.

OUCRU-NP was initiated in the summer of 2003 following a visit to Nepal by Professor Jeremy Farrar after an exchange of letters with Dr Buddha Basnyat (Consultant, Patan Hospital) in the New England Journal of Medicine, subsequent to a review article by Professor Farrar and colleagues on typhoid fever.

Since 2003, the research collaboration has evolved and OUCRU-NP has become a respected and integral part of the work of both the Patan Hospital and the Patan Academy of Health Sciences. There has been considerable investment in upgrading the hospital laboratories including Microbiology and now Biochemistry, Heamatology and Pathology, in the Clinical Research Unit and in the training of young Nepalese clinicians and scientists. Our main research focus has been on the most common infectious diseases affecting patients at Patan Hospital and in the surrounding areas of Lalipitur.  We have a major focus on enteric fever (Typhoid and Paratyphoid) and other causes of febrile illness including typhus, infections of the central nervous system and Hepatitis E.  We plan in the future to expand this work to include viral causes of pneumonia, TB, emerging illnesses and other public health priorities in Nepal. High altitude sickness in Nepalese and travellers has also been an interest of this collaboration over the last ten years.

Every year thousands of pilgrims visit religious sites in the mountains of Nepal. Many of these local pilgrims are unaware of the dangers of climbing to high altitudes and many succumb to altitude related illnesses. Some even die on the mountains. The Himalayan Rescue Association, OUCRU Public Engagement and Media for Development worked together with the pilgrim community to create a public health film to inform others of the challenges of these journeys.

Our team

Latest news

Asymptomatic individuals shown to transmit SARS-CoV-2 infection in Vietnam

Dr Le Van Tan in OUCRU, in collaboration with the Hospital for Tropical Diseases and the Department of Health, has shown that it is common for people who are infected with the virus that causes COVID-19 (SARS-CoV-2) to have no symptoms whatsoever. By testing quarantined people in Vietnam, his team was able to detect asymptomatic individuals. The virus disappeared faster from the bodies of the asymptomatic carriers than from that of symptomatic individuals, but it appeared that some of them still managed to pass the infection on to others.

How Vietnam managed to keep its coronavirus death toll at zero

Despite a long border with China and a population of 97 million people, Vietnam has recorded only just over 300 cases of Covid-19 and not a single death. The country very quickly enacted measures such as travel restrictions, monitoring and eventually closing border with China, closing schools and increasing health checks at borders and other vulnerable places. A vast and labour intensive contact tracing operation got under way. Quarantine on such a vast scale is key as evidence mounts that as many as half of all infected people are asymptomatic.

Sophie Yacoub nominated Emerging Leader in Infectious Diseases

In recognition of her past contributions to the field of international infectious diseases and in anticipation of her future impact on the discipline, Sophie Yacoub, Dengue Research Group Head at OUCRU, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, is recognised as ISID Emerging Leader in International Infectious Diseases.

OUCRU Nepal Research Highlights

Melioidosis: misdiagnosed in Nepal

Posted 02/04/2019: Underdiagnosed in South Asia, melioidosis is caused by a bacterium called Burkholderia pseudomallei which is often referred to as a remarkable imitator. Pulmonary involvement including infections mimicking tuberculosis is a common form of presentation. In this case report, Buddha Basnyat and colleagues show that if a South Asian patient does not respond to anti tuberculosis treatment, melioidosis should be considered.

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.

Prophylactic acetaminophen or ibuprofen result in equivalent acute mountain sickness incidence at high altitude

Posted 30/06/2017. Acute mountain sickness is a potentially life-threatening illness for sojourners to high altitude (> 2500m). Where pharmacological prophylaxis is indicated, Diamox is the drug of choice, but it has distressing side-effects. This Everest-based, double-blind, randomized controlled trial revealed that paracetamol, like ibuprofen, could potentially replace Diamox for prophylaxis.

Treatment Response in Enteric Fever in an Era of Increasing Antimicrobial Resistance

Posted 25/04/2017. South Asia, which includes Nepal, is a hub for typhoid fever. Trials conducted in Nepal since 2005 confirm that fluoroquinolones are failing for typhoid fever treatment. The WHO and health ministries in the region recommend fluroquionolones as the drugs of choice for typhoid fever. This recommendation needs to be changed.