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Professor J. Kevin Baird

Professor J. Kevin Baird

Podcast interview

Infectious diseases in Indonesia

Delivering health care in Indonesia is a challenge, made more difficult by the geography and distances. Our OUCRU Indonesia unit specialises in clinical trials on tropical infections, particularly Plasmodium vivax malaria. Current treatments with primaquine are effective but very toxic for patients with G6PD deficiency. Better point of care diagnostics can help us treat all patients safely.

View podcast transcript

The global burden of Plasmodium vivax malaria is obscure and insidious

Until recently, Plasmodium falciparum dominated the malaria research landscape, and Plasmodium vivax infection was considered benign and inconsequential. We now know that this is not true: if not properly diagnosed and treated, P. vivax can lead to life-threatening syndromes and death.

Kevin Baird

Professor of Malariology

  • Head of Unit, OUCRU Indonesia

OUCRU Indonesia

Kevin is Head of Unit at OUCRU Indonesia. This was created in 2008 by agreement between the Eijkman Institute for Molecular Biolology (EIMB, Ministry of Science & Technology) and the University of Oxford to collaborate on clinical, laboratory, and field research on infectious diseases of clinical and public health importance in Indonesia. EIMB hosts OUCRU Indonesia as an integrated component of the Institute at its state-of-the-art facility in central Jakarta. OUCRU Indonesia undertakes joint collaborative research endeavours that bring together partners at EIMB, the Faculty of Medicine Universitas Indonesia (FMUI) and its Indonesia Medical Education and Research Institute (IMERI) in Jakarta. We also engage colleagues at the Faculty of Medicine Universitas Sumatera Utara (FMUSU) at Medan, Faculty of Medicine Universitas Hasanuddin (FMUH) at Makassar, the Faculty of Medicine Universitas Nusa Cendana (FMUNC) at Kupang, as well as the Indonesian Army Health Research Centre (HRC-TNI-AD) in Jakarta. The core work of OUCRU Indonesia is clinical trials and has involved diagnostics, therapeutics, mosquito vector control, and vaccination interventions relevant to malaria, tuberculosis meningitis, and cryptococcal meningitis. New arrival Dr Raph Hamers manages the Universities of Indonesia and Oxford Clinical Research Laboratory (IOCRL) at FMUI and oversees Unit efforts to expand collaborations on infectious diseases in Jakarta and elsewhere. The Unit conducts basic laboratory research on pharmacogenetic issues like glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase deficiency and impaired cytochrome P-450 2D6 metabolism, both as related to the treatment of vivax malaria with the drug called primaquine. Dr. Iqbal Elyzar manages the Geospatial Epidemiology group at OUCRU Indonesia and regularly interacts and collaborates with various Ministries of the Indonesian government with regard to measuring mapping relevant disease burdens and movement of people within Indonesia.

Soldier Subjects Homecoming

About 500 soldiers stand in military formation at a port on Java after disembarking from their transport ship carrying them home after months of duties in remote malarious eastern Indonesia. Almost half of the soldiers standing here have dormant hypnozoites of Plasmodium vivax in their livers --180 of them volunteered for a randomised trial of primaquine against further relapse during one year of follow up on malaria-free Java. The Eijkman Institute of Molecular Biology closely collaborates with the health research services of the Indonesian Armed Forces and OUCRU Indonesia has helped develop this unique experimental model for a number of trials involving drugs, vaccines, and diagnostics.