Malaria

Professor Nick White

Professor of Tropical Medicine, Mahidol University, Bangkok, Thailand

Professor Nick White has lived and worked in Thailand since 1980. From 1986 to 2001 he was the Director of the Wellcome Trust-Mahidol University, Oxford Tropical Medicine Research Programme, Faculty of Tropical Medicine, Mahidol University, Bangkok, Thailand. In 1991 he set up the Wellcome Trust Clinical Research Unit, in the Hospital for Tropical Diseases, Ho Chi Minh City, Viet Nam and in 1999 the Wellcome Trust-Mahosot-Oxford collaboration in Vientiane, Lao PDR. He chairs the Wellcome Trust South East Asian tropical medicine research major overseas programmes.

He is a Professor of Tropical Medicine both at Mahidol University, Bangkok and the University of Oxford. Professor White has led research on the pathophysiology and treatment of several tropical diseases including melioidosis, typhoid, dengue, diphtheria, cryptococcal meningitis, penicillioisis, and beri-beri but his main research interest has been malaria.

His work has focussed particularly on the clinical pharmacology of antimalarial drugs, the pathophysiology and treatment of severe malaria, malaria in pregnancy, and Plasmodium vivax infections. The Wellcome Trust South East Asian tropical medicine research units have conducted large and definitive trials in uncomplicated falciparum and vivax malaria, malaria in pregnancy, and in severe malaria. This work led to a revision in the dosage regimens for quinine and chloroquine in severe malaria.

Later he led the largest randomised controlled trials conducted in severe malaria which showed marked reductions in mortality with parenteral artesunate. These led to the global recommendation that quinine should be replaced by artesunate. Research conducted by the research collaboration in Thailand led to the introduction and development of artemisinin combination treatment (ACT), and has led to current dose regimens for all the currently recommended ACTs. Professor White has developed what are now generally accepted methods of assessing antimalarial drugs clinically, and the models for in-vivo antimalarial drug pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics. These form the necessary basis for assessing the risks of emergence and spread of resistance and the development of rational dose recommendations.

Professor White has published over 800 scientific papers (“H” index 1.11.2011 = 111), mainly on malaria, and he sits on the international advisory or editorial boards of many scientific journals including The Lancet and PLoS Medicine. He has served on many WHO malaria committees and since 2004 he has co-chaired the committee responsible for developing the Malaria Treatment Guidelines.

Last updated: 15 December 2011

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