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OUCRU laboratories provide support to the unit’s extensive clinical research programme, from level 2 laboratory to SAPO 4 laboratory for high-risk pathogens responsible for zoonotic infections. Early diagnosis and detection of antimicrobial resistance help prescribe the right medicine in time, contributing to better patient management.

My name is Motiur Rahman, I work as Head of the Laboratory at Oxford University Clinical Research Unit in Ho Chi Minh City. My responsibility is to run a laboratory operation programme across OUCRU units in Vietnam, Indonesia and Nepal.

We have been conducting research on tuberculosis, dengue, malaria, brain infection, hepatitis for the last decades. We have been using advance genomics for early diagnosis and detection of antimicrobial resistance in mycobacterium that has been very successful. We have been monitoring antimicrobial resistance in malaria parasite for the last 20+ years. We also maintain an insectarium where we grow mosquitoes, and then we use these mosquitoes to infect dengue patients to see how long patients can remain infected with the mosquitoes.

We oversea three different types of laboratories. We have the general biosafety level 2 laboratory which deals with most of the pathogens we generally work with, then we have a biosafety level 3 laboratory which is mainly for dangerous pathogens, and then we also have a Specified Animal Pathogen Order 4 laboratory which is for high-risk pathogens for zoonotic infections. We have several programmes and our research projects are conducted through many different provincial hospitals. In every hospital we work with, we train the staff, we try to transfer technology, we bring the staff from there to come and visit our place, and then we also recruit MSc and PhD students to work in our laboratory. Capacity building is part of our laboratory programme that continues all the time.

When we do research on tuberculosis, we look for ways to diagnose the disease quickly and more accurately: we take research projects that particularly deal with early diagnosis and detect antimicrobial resistance simultaneously so that the patient can be prescribed with the right medicine in time. We have been conducting research on personalised medicine for tuberculosis in which we identified the patient’s genotype and then treat them based on that particular genotype which gives a more accurate treatment.

Our research on tuberculosis has changed or helped millions in the world to get the right diagnosis and right treatment in time. Our antimicrobial resistance monitoring programme taking the one health approach has helped Vietnam in reducing antibiotic use in livestock, poultry, fisheries, and has contributed significantly in reducing the antimicrobial resistance problem in Vietnam.

Going from research to practice and then back to research is one of our key objectives when we conduct research. In our clinical trials, treatment option, treatment duration and treatment regime are being defined and directly translated into patient management locally. Then those results are later translated into policy and contribute to patient management. Whatever we do here in Vietnam, this is very much translational research and our intent is to change local policy.

This interview was recorded in March 2018

Motiur Rahman

Motiur Rahman works as Head of Laboratories for OUCRU in Ho Chi Minh City and oversees the OUCRU laboratory programme in Vietnam, Indonesia, Nepal, and China. Activities includes improving capacity, enhancing quality and ensuring regulatory compliance and safety of the OUCRU and other collaborating institute laboratories.

Translational Medicine

From bench to bedside

Ultimately, medical research must translate into improved treatments for patients. Our researchers collaborate to develop better health care, improved quality of life, and enhanced preventative measures for all patients. Our findings in the laboratory are translated into changes in clinical practice, from bench to bedside.