Professor Buddha Basnyat
High altitude illness
High altitude illness can be prevented by a simple rule: don't go too high, too fast. Drugs can also be used, and Dr Basnyat showed that a much lower dose of Diamox, a commonly used drug, is as effective. His research also focusses on the effect of high altitude on pilgrims, an older, poorer and more vulnerable population.
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 within the Patan Hospital, the Patan Academy of Health Sciences and OUCRU-NP 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 Jeremy Farrar (who headed OUCRU-Vietnam at that time) after an exchange of letters with Buddha Basnyat (Consultant, Patan Hospital) in the New England Journal of Medicine, subsequent to a review article by Professor Farrar and colleagues on enteric fever.
In this period of about 17 years, this Unit at Patan Hospital has published many ground-breaking randomized controlled trials (RCTs) on the treatment of enteric fever in prestigious journals like the Lancet Infectious Diseases. Recently in December 2019 in the New England Journal of Medicine, the Unit together with collaborators published the results of a very effective ( 81%) RCT regarding a new typhoid conjugate vaccine carried out near Patan Hospital. This Unit has also clearly documented other causes of undifferentiated febrile illness besides enteric fever. Recent research from our Unit showed that typhus commonly mimics typhoid and that, importantly, the treatment is different. The spin-offs of these RCTs have included the study of the epidemiology of enteric fever and crucially research in antimicrobial resistance, an understated problem in South Asia. We have also been involved in public engagement throughout the country with the Health Ministry and the Epidemiology and Disease Control Division of the Government of Nepal so that our research findings are not just confined to academia.
Finally in October 2019, Basnyat and his team were awarded a very competitive, valuable Joint Global Health Trial ( JGHT) grant from the UK’s Medical Research Council to carry out a treatment trial of two drugs ( cefixime plus azithromycin) vs one ( azithromycin) in enteric fever across Nepal, India, Pakistan and Bangladesh. The trial is to begin in early 2021. Banyat's research also deals with high altitude medicine.
Basnyat's main mission is to encourage young health care professionals in Nepal and beyond to become enthusiastically engaged in carrying out sound clinical trials in the region, writing these up and translating the findings, where applicable, to policy.
Zafren K. et al, (2023), High Alt Med Biol, 24
Kirby T., (2023), Lancet Infect Dis, 23
Risal U. et al, (2023)
Horby PW. et al, (2022)
Berendsen RR. et al, (2022), High Alt Med Biol, 23, 330 - 337