Research Highlights

Severe childhood malnutrition

Severe childhood malnutrition

Posted 12/10/2017

Severe malnutrition remains common in low-income countries, principally among young children. It usually arises from poor sanitation and infections, besides food insecurity. This comprehensive review by Professor James Berkley describes how research is needed, using modern clinic and laboratory tools, to better understand changes in metabolism, infections and the immune system to improve treatment.

Community engagement for the rapid elimination of malaria: the case of Kayin State, Myanmar

Community engagement for the rapid elimination of malaria: the case of Kayin State, Myanmar

Posted 03/10/2017
Professor Phaik Yeong Cheah and colleagues published a paper describing their experience and challenges engaging with communities involved in the Targeted Malaria Elimination initiative in Karen State, Myanmar. The report gives a detailed account of the activities conducted and challenges encountered which included difficulties explaining concepts like drug resistance and submicroscopic infection.
Unsupervised primaquine for the treatment of Plasmodium vivax malaria relapses in southern Papua: A hospital-based cohort study

Unsupervised primaquine for the treatment of Plasmodium vivax malaria relapses in southern Papua: A hospital-based cohort study

Posted 21/09/2017
Ric Price shows that that primaquine is substantially less effective for preventing relapses of vivax malaria in real-world practice than is predicted by clinical efficacy trials and that this is a likely consequence of incomplete adherence to treatment. Efforts to improve adherence to primaquine and to develop alternative drugs with shorter dosing regimens and greater patient tolerability are needed to achieve the significant public health benefits of P. vivax radical cure.
How can we implement paediatric care practices in Kenyan hospitals?

How can we implement paediatric care practices in Kenyan hospitals?

Posted 13/09/2017

Changing the practices of health care workers in multiple hospitals in low-income settings is a major contemporary challenge that requires people to think about the complex set of influences that affect clinicians’ behaviour. In this report, Professor Mike English describes a multi-layered strategy utilising a new implementation typology linked to overarching theories of change.

Adjuvanting a viral vectored vaccine against pre-erythrocytic malaria

Adjuvanting a viral vectored vaccine against pre-erythrocytic malaria

Posted 07/09/2017

Adjuvants are key components used to enhance vaccine efficacy. Their use has been well characterised to stimulate antibody responses but very little has been investigated regarding their effect on cytotoxic T cell responses. In this study, an extensive group of adjuvants has been assessed to investigate immunity enhancement against liver-stage malaria through stimulation of T cell responses. Two were found to improve vaccine efficacy against a sporozoite challenge and the mechanism is presented.

Neonatal and adult recent thymic emigrants produce IL-8 and express complement receptors CR1 and CR2

Neonatal and adult recent thymic emigrants produce IL-8 and express complement receptors CR1 and CR2

Posted 31/08/2017

Although naive human T cells underpin the adaptive arm of the immune system, John Todd, Marcin Pekalski, Linda Wicker and colleagues have discovered that these cells express the innate complement receptors, CR2 (or CD21, the EBV receptor) and CR1, opening a new avenue of research in microbial defence in newborn children.

Influence of the number and timing of malaria episodes during pregnancy on prematurity and small-for-gestational-age in an area of low transmission

Influence of the number and timing of malaria episodes during pregnancy on prematurity and small-for-gestational-age in an area of low transmission

Posted 21/08/2017

In more than 50,000 pregnancies where 16% of women had malaria infection the odds of small for gestational age and preterm birth following falciparum, and vivax malaria, were quantified. These newborn effects have life-long implications and efforts to effectively prevent malaria in pregnancy must be pursued.

Clinical Trials of Therapeutics for the Prevention of Congenital Zika Virus Disease: Challenges and Potential Solutions

Clinical Trials of Therapeutics for the Prevention of Congenital Zika Virus Disease: Challenges and Potential Solutions

Posted 10/08/2017

Selecting and trialling therapeutics for preventing congenital Zika disease is challenging. The target product should be low risk, acceptable to the mother, highly effective in preventing adverse fetal outcomes, and practical for widespread clinical use in resource-limited settings. Professor Peter Horby and fellow researchers discuss strategies for addressing these challenges in a recent paper.

Membrane pores: from structure and assembly, to medicine and technology

Membrane pores: from structure and assembly, to medicine and technology

Posted 04/08/2017

A recently-published article by Professor Robert Gilbert in the Royal Society's Philosophical Transactions, following an international meeting in June last year, showcasing pore-forming proteins. Such proteins break open cellular membranes and are used by attacking pathogens, immune systems and in processes as diverse as neurodevelopment and programmed cell death. They also have many technological applications including in DNA sequencing.

Effect of transmission intensity on hotspots and micro-epidemiology of malaria in sub-Saharan Africa

Effect of transmission intensity on hotspots and micro-epidemiology of malaria in sub-Saharan Africa

Posted 28/07/2017

Malaria transmission is patchy at local levels, and when a group of houses is located in a high transmission patch this is labelled a "hotspot". Looking at 19 studies in 7 African Countries, we see that hotspots are the norm, and especially prominent when malaria transmission falls according to a recent article published in BMC Medicine by Prof Philip Bejon, Director of the Wellcome-KEMRI-Oxford Collaborative Research Programme