The translational potential of mass spectrometry and next-generation sequencing in patients with central nervous system infections in Vietnam


  • Tan Le Van

    Oxford University Clinical Research Unit

Project summary

Brain infections are common in low- and middle-income countries and are often fatal. Doctors are currently hamstrung by the inadequacy of laboratory tests, especially in poorer parts of the world. They often do not know what caused the infection and are unable to give effective treatment. The situation is exacerbated by the emergence of new, previously unrecognised infections and infections that are resistant to antibiotics.

I aim to show that new diagnostic tests targeted at proteins found in the brain fluid of patients and the genetic material of infectious agents can improve upon tests commonly used in hospitals in Vietnam. I will recruit 750 patients with brain infections over three years at the Hospital for Tropical Diseases in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. I will analyse brain fluid from these patients to discover whether the proteins in the fluid can tell us what is causing the infection and determine if finding the complete genetic code of the bug causing the infection is better than current conventional tests. I will also determine if the genetic code can rapidly predict antibiotic resistance and guide effective treatment.

Improving tests so that doctors can quickly determine the cause of the central nervous system infections and decide which antibiotics will be effective will help patients with brain infections worldwide.

This grant was awarded under the scheme's previous name of Intermediate Fellowships in Public Health and Tropical Medicine.