Shoklo Malaria Research Unit (SMRU) Thailand

Shoklo Malaria Research Unit (SMRU) in implementing the Mycobacterium tuberculosis molecular load assay (MBLA).  SMRU is a field station of the faculty of Tropical Medicine, Mahidol University, Bangkok, Thailand and is part of the Mahidol-Oxford Research Unit (MORU) supported by the Wellcome Trust (UK).  It is located on the Thailand-Myanmar border and provides health care to the marginalised populations living in the region; combining both research and humanitarian activities to meet its goals (more details on SMRU can be found on their website http://www.shoklo-unit.com).  In 2009 SMRU started its tuberculosis (TB) program, which has been expanding ever since and is now directed by Michele Vincenti-Delmas.  The importance of this program cannot be understated, with Myanmar and Thailand having some of the highest burdens of TB in the world and a high incidence of multi-drug resistance.  It is hoped that the MBLA will enable rapid detection of response, or lack of it, to anti-tuberculosis treatment. This will ensure TB patients receive optimal treatment in a timely fashion, improving on currently methodologies.  It also hoped that the assay will be used as a research tool in the future, aiding our understanding of treatment responses in this neglected population.