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IMU’s Pro Vice Chancellor of Research Secured MSD International Research Fund

06 May 2021

Prof Datuk Dr Lokman Hakim Sulaiman, Pro Vice Chancellor of Research, International Medical University (IMU) and Director of the Institute for Research, Development, and Innovation (IRDI)  has been awarded a prestigious international research fund from Merck, Sharpe and Dohme (MSD) amounting to RM 1,150,567 earlier this year. The external funding would be utilised to conduct a pediatric pneumonia study in the field of infectious disease and epidemiology in collaboration with University of Malaya Medical Centre (UMMC), International Islamic University Medical Centre (IIUMMC), Hospital Universiti Sains Malaysia (HUSM) and University of Southampton (United Kingdom).

The project team includes
Dr Nurul Hanis Ramzi IMU/IRDI
Dr Nur Alia Johari IMU/IRDI
A/Prof Stuart Clarke University of Southampton, UK
Prof Dr Anna Marie UMMC
Dr Cindy Teh UMMC
Dr Zakuan Zainy Deris HUSM
Dr Mohd Ikram Illias HUSM
Dr Siti Nur Haidar binti Hazlan HUSM
Dr Asrar Abu Bakar IIUMMC
Dr Muhd Alwi Muhd Helmi IIUMMC
Dr Norhidayah Kamarudin IIUMMC
Dr Chong Chun Wie Monash University

The study will be a multi-centre prospective case-control study in which clinically diagnosed pneumonia patients and healthy controls aged 5 years and below will be recruited from three university hospitals (UMMC, IIUMMC and HUSM). The purpose of this research is to provide baseline surveillance of pneumonia in young children in Malaysia before and during the implementation of the pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV). The study also aims to assess potential changes in both clinical outcomes and pneumococcal carriage in young children in Malaysia during the COVID-19 pandemic. The data obtained from the study conducted may provide crucial data to support policy decisions on pneumococcal vaccination. Pneumonia is a respiratory infection that can cause mild to life-threatening disease among all age groups but it is the leading infectious cause of death among children globally. The most common cause of pneumonia is infection with a bacteria called Streptococcus pneumoniae, also known as pneumococcus. Hence, immunisation with a pneumococcal vaccine is an effective way to prevent pneumonia. In Malaysia, pneumococcal vaccination under the National Immunisation Programme (NIP) for children commenced in December 2020, comprising of 3 doses administered to children at four, six and 15 months respectively. The routine use of PCV in children will contribute to reducing the burden of pneumococcal infections in the country, especially severe infections. The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic may also have implications on the pneumococcal serotype and clinical presentation of infections in the community.

Congratulations to Prof Datuk Dr Lokman and team!

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