Australian professor wins Ho Chi Minh Prize for joint TB research

VOV.VN - One of two 2022 Ho Chi Minh Scientific Prize in the area of health care has been presented to a team of 23 respiratory researchers that include three researchers from Australian universities and research institute.

TB is a disease that has affects over 10 million people each year, and is the second only to COVID-19 as an infectious killer. Vietnam is one of the countries with the highest burden of TB in the world. Each year, over 100,000 people are found to have TB in Vietnam. However, at least another 50,000 people remain undiagnosed and often continue spreading the infection to others.

The group of infectious disease experts combating the spread of tuberculosis in Vietnam has been recognised for their tireless research and advocacy, which has spanned over a decade.

Since 2009, the Australian medical researchers have collaborated with the National Tuberculosis Program to work closely with Vietnamese researchers across 135 clinics throughout Vietnam to find effective ways to tackle this challenge. Their work and discoveries range from a ground-breaking innovation to end TB by using modern medical technology to perform community-wide testing for, and treatment of, TB to stop the disease in its tracks, to new effective and shorter treatment regimens for latent TB infection and active TB disease, and digital health as well as social psychological support for TB patients by improving their treatment adherence and better managing their side effects.

In accepting the award, Greg Fox, Professor of Respiratory Medicine at The University of Sydney, Australia, and the Woolcock Institute of Medical Research, said it was an immense honour to receive the award from the Government of Vietnam, in recognition of his work advocating for greater access and equity for Tuberculosis diagnosis and treatment in the country.

 “It is an incredible honour to receive this prestigious award, as a part of an outstanding team of Vietnamese and international collaborators,” said Professor Fox.

“It is my belief for any infectious disease to be brought under control requires long term commitment and collaboration of countless researchers and clinicians working in the field, in the community and the lab. It is a privilege to be part of that in the Vietnam National Tuberculosis Program, and to continue to dedicate my research to eradicating tuberculosis.”

“This research is testament to what can achieved when researchers are united in a common goal in the name of public health.” said Professor Fox.

“The findings of our studies have contributed to policy changes not only in Vietnam but also many other high burden countries in the world, saving thousands of lives. However, we need to work harder to help the next generation to be free of this preventable infectious disease.” said Dr Thu-Anh Nguyen, the Country Director of the Woolcock Institute of Medical Research Vietnam.

The Australian Ambassador to Vietnam, Andrew Goledzinowski, made a remark: “This is a significant occasion, as it marks the first time that the Ho Chi Minh Prize has been awarded to a research team that includes international researchers, in this case three remarkable recipients from Australia’s Woolcock Institute, the University of Sydney and the University of New South Wales in Sydney. I’m so pleased to see quality research being recognised in this way, especially when it also demonstrates the strong partnership in science between Vietnamese and Australian researchers – and in the lead up to our celebration of 50 years of diplomatic relations. The team makes us very proud indeed.”

The University of Sydney and the Woolcock Institute of Medical Research are key partners to run significant research on tuberculosis area for the last 10 years in Vietnam. Research outcomes were published in prestigious international scientific journals and have been translated into global or national policies. As a result of this work, active case finding to detect TB is implemented widely throughout Vietnam and in many other high burden countries in the world, saving thousand lives.