The allegations made about the conception and establishment of the INTERGROWTH-21st research project are unfounded and without substance. Oxford University has its own robust internal review procedures which meet the highest academic standards on research conduct. Three separate investigations, in 2008, 2009 and 2011, have concluded there was no misconduct. These findings have been shared in detail with WHO, which has declared on three separate occasions that the matter is closed. The WHO’s recent review has not considered any material which has not already been thoroughly investigated by the University.
The results of the INTERGROWTH-21st Project have proved invaluable in highlighting the problems facing some of the most vulnerable infants in the world. For example, a 2015 study by Johns Hopkins University concluded that 24% of all newborns in developing countries, assessed using the INTERGROWTH-21st Newborn Size Standards, are malnourished at birth. Hence, Oxford University is working closely with regional and country offices of WHO to disseminate the international standards arising from the project.
In June 2016, WHO recommended the use of the INTERGROWTH-21st Newborn Size Standards to assess babies born to mothers who might have been infected with the Zika virus in pregnancy; these standards have also been adopted by CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention). In addition, this month, Sri Lanka became the first country in the world to adopt the INTERGROWTH-21st Postnatal Growth Standards for Preterm Infants.
Oxford University hopes to work further with WHO on the adoption of the project’s much-needed clinical tools and will vigorously defend the high standing and reputation of our researchers.
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