Tom Lamb appointed as the first Hamish Ogston Foundation Fellow
Tom Lamb, a 34-year old Project Coordinator with the Centre of Tropical Medicine at the Nuffield Department of Medicine, University of Oxford, was appointed as the first fully funded Hamish Ogston Foundation Fellow earlier this year.
As part of his work as a Project Coordinator and Fellow, Tom has moved to Myanmar to lead in-field envenoming preliminary research and later, dose-finding clinical trials. The trials will be conducted according to the highest international standards and will be supervised by the local Myanmar Oxford University Clinical Research Unit (MOCRU).
These trials are of particular importance to Myanmar as it has one of the highest rates of venomous snakebites in the world. It’s estimated that over 25,000 bites occur each year in the country, with over 1,250 cases leading to loss of life.
The goal of the project is to assess the safety and effectiveness of the sole antivenom available for the treatment of Russell’s viper envenoming. The aim is for clinical trials to commence in the Greater Yangon district once local support and ethical approval have been granted with subsequent work focusing on snakebite awareness and prevention.
The Hamish Ogston Foundation has also committed a budget to cover the reasonable costs of running a clinical trial which include staffing, administration and laboratory costs over the next three years, making these the first clinical trials of antivenom funded by a private philanthropic organisation.
“Snakebite envenoming is the most neglected tropical disease and causes a devastating burden on rural communities through loss of life and long term disability. Being awarded a Fellowship is an incredibly humbling experience and I hope to bring tangible benefit to those impacted by the crisis,” says Tom Lamb.
The Fellowship was awarded in March of this year in response to the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) inclusion of snakebites to its list of neglected tropical diseases and the Hamish Ogston Foundation hopes to fund further Fellowships when and where the need arises.