Nguyen Ha Thao Vy passes her Masters defense

Influenza

Congratulations to Vy for passing her Masters thesis defense today!   Vy’s thesis focused on the molecular epidemiology and seroepidemiology of influenza in Ho Chi Minh City, and it represented more than three years of serological and molecular lab work that Vy led, together with Tran Thi Nhu Thao and Huynh Thi Phuong of OUCRU.   Vy’s main results were …

Stacy Todd passes her PhD viva

Influenza

Congratulations to Stacy Todd on passing her PhD viva today! At OUCRU Vietnam for 2.5 years, Stacy ran a large observational study on influenza antibody profiles in flu-positive and flu-negative patients.   Stacy examined the relationships between these profiles and influenza susceptibility, computed antibody waning rates for patients recently infected with influenza, and determined how these waning rates influenced estimates …

Real-time ILI reporting project to start up in Da Nang

Influenza

On Saturday May 28, the OUCRU modeling team visited Da Nang to meet with a group of doctors who are interested in setting up a real-time ILI reporting study similar to the study that has been running in Ho Chi Minh City since 2009.   Hannah Clapham and Nguyen Thi Le Thanh visited a number of clinics in Da Nang …

OUCRU’s first two mathematical modeling PhDs

Influenza, Malaria

Congratulations to Dao Nguyen Vinh (left) and Tran Dang Nguyen (right) who both passed their PhD vivas this month. Vinh and Nguyen were the first two students in OUCRU’s mathematical modeling group, and they helped build the group up to its current state today, with seven people working on influenza and four on malaria. Vinh’s thesis was titled Influenza in …

Collaboration with Erasmus Medical Center

Influenza

This week, we visited the Erasmus Medical Center to work with our longtime collaborators, Marion Koopmans’ research group, on a range of seroepidemiological studies that we are running together.   Our collaboration started in 2010 when we noticed that our large general-population serum collections in Vietnam and the high-throughput protein microarray technology developed by Marion’s group were a good match …

WHO influenza phylogenetics workshop

Influenza

In September 2014, OUCRU organized and taught the “Workshop on Phylogenetic Analysis for Evolution of Influenza Viruses” for the WHO Vietnam Country Office and Vietnam’s National Institutes for Hygiene and Epidemiology.   The courses were taught by Ha Minh Lam, Maia Rabaa, and Maciej Boni, and participants came from Vietnam’s national research institutes and provincial public health agencies. The workshop …

Launch of www.ili.vn

Influenza

In the summer of 2009, during the first months of the 2009 influenza pandemic, we launched a community study on influenza-like illness (ILI) in Ho Chi Minh City.   About a dozen private clinics were enrolled initially, and they sent us daily reports on influenza-like illness cases by standard mobile phone SMS text messages.   The study was designed for …

Phylogeography: does subsampling solve sampling bias?

Influenza

A few years ago, we were asked by Vietnam’s National Institute of Hygiene and Epidemiology to help analyze their influenza sequence data. The initial question on everyone’s mind was “where does Vietnam’s influenza come from?”, but it became clear pretty quickly that flu viruses can come from anywhere. The global phylogeography of influenza had already been described by a few …

Population antibody measurements to H7N9 influenza

Influenza

In February 2013, the first human infections with influenza subtype H7N9 were observed in coastal China.   As our group is currently in the process of processing samples from a large serosurvey in southern Vietnam, we analyzed our data to determine if antibody levels in the Vietnamese population to H7 influenza subtypes were higher or lower than expected.   One …

Too lethal for a pandemic?

Influenza

Our Philosophical Transactions article on potential virulence evolution in H5N1 influenza was featured again, this time by Matt Ridley in the Wall Street Journal. The editorial piece was written in the context of the recent influenza H7N9 outbreaks in China and concerns that this newly emerging influenza subtype may have the right characteristics to cause a human influenza pandemic. Matt …

The future evolution of bird flu

Influenza

A recent publication of ours in Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society was featured by Carl Zimmer on National Geographic’s blog site Phenomena. The article discusses the potential paths of virulence evolution for subtype H5N1 avian influenza viruses should they ever cause a pandemic in humans. Carl Zimmer’s blog piece can be found here: The Future Evolution of Bird Flu

Early weeks of 2009 influenza pandemic in Ho Chi Minh City

Influenza

In Vietnam, the first patient infected with the 2009 H1N1 pandemic influenza virus landed in Ho Chi Minh City airport on May 26, 2009. One month before this introduction, the Oxford University Clinical Research Unit and the Hospital for Tropical Diseases had begun testing patients with fever arriving at Ho Chi Minh City’s international airport, and tracking passenger numbers and …