Malawi Liverpool Wellcome Trust

Malawi-Liverpool-Wellcome Trust Clinical Research Programme (MLW) is a clinical research programme which conducts research on diseases of local importance to Malawi and the region. The programme is part of the College of Medicine (COM), University of Malawi and also has strong links with the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine and the University of Liverpool, UK (via the Wellcome Trust Tropical Centre), and. MLW also encourages other collaborations with centres of excellence in the region and worldwide. Wellcome Trust (UK) is the programmes’ major donor

The programme was established and affiliated to COM in 1995. It was initially based on a malaria research programme led by Professor Malcolm Molyneux funded through a Wellcome Trust Research Leave Fellowship. In 2003, the programme underwent external review and was recognized by the Wellcome Trust as a Major Overseas Programme. Professor Molyneux was the programme’s director up to June 2007. The current MLW is currently under the directorship of director Professor Rob Heyderman.

MLW is based on the grounds of Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital (QECH). It provides many services in support of clinical research i.e. finance, administration, IT, research offices, laboratories, seminar room and a data and statistics room. There is also a purpose built paediatric research ward, clinical investigation unit and various community based facilities in several districts of Malawi.

The programme hosts both Wellcome Trust and non Wellcome Trust funded researchers. Most MLW fellows have honorary clinical positions at COM and QECH; which permits clinical skills to be retained and enhanced and also aids recruitment of patients into studies.

Current activities

The mission of MLW is to pursue excellence in research and research training, and to investigate health problems of local and international significance.

In line with its mission, MLW research activities are focused under five major research themes i.e.:

1.SEVERE MALARIA This theme focuses on the basic biology, genetics, immunology and clinical manifestations of cerebral malaria and malaria-associated anaemia, primarily in children.

2.THERAPEUTICS IN THE TROPICS Here the main focus is on researching innovative drugs and drug combinations in the treatment of malaria; pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics in the Tropics; Pharmacovigilance; and understanding the mechanisms of drug side-effects.

3.SEVERE BACTERIAL INFECTION The focus is on molecular epidemiology, pathogenesis and management of bacteraemia, pneumonia and meningitis in adults and children.

4.MUCOSAL AND VACCINE IMMUNITY Under this theme, the focus is on immune responses to bacterial pathogens that infect via the mucosa; influence of HIV on naturally acquired and vaccine induced immune responses; effects of clinical and subclinical infections on vaccine-induced immunity and novel strategies for vaccine prevention.

5.INFECTIOUS DISEASE EPIDEMIOLOGY AND IMPLEMETANTION RESEARCH This is a cross-cutting research theme translating laboratory and hospital based research to a community setting with a focus on malaria, HIV, diarrhoea and lower respiratory tract Infection.


Pharmacokinetics: The process by which a drug is absorbed, distributed, metabolised, and eliminated by the body. movements of drugs within biologic systems, as affected by uptake, distribution, binding, elimination, and biotransformation; particularly the rates of such movements

Pharmacodynamics: The process by which a drug acts or has an effect on the body.the study of uptake, movement, binding, and interactions of pharmacologically active molecules at their tissue site(s) of action.

Pharmacovigilance: collecting, monitoring, researching, assessing and evaluating information from healthcare providers and patients on the adverse effects of medication the study of drug-related adverse effects carried out by pharmaceutical industries to suggest warnings or recommendations for product withdrawal

Bacteraemia: the presence of viable bacteria in the circulating blood; may be transient following trauma such as dental or other iatrogenic manipulation or may be persistent or recurrent as a result of infection.. This usually results in life-threatening disease such as septic shock and may lead to meningitis.

Mucosa: mucous tissue lining various tubular structures consisting of epithelium, lamina propria, and, in the digestive tract, a layer of smooth muscle (muscularis mucosae)in contact with the outside world including the mouth, throat, lungs, digestive system and some of the reproductive system.

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