Pediatric infectious diseases are a major public health challenge globally that contribute to pediatric morbidity and mortality, particularly in children under five years of age. In 2014, Thailand’s rate of pediatric mortality in under 5s was 13 per 100,000, substantially higher than the 2-4 per 100,000 seen in developed countries. Several of these infectious diseases were preventable with vaccines, including respiratory infections such as influenza and pneumococcus. It is therefore of vital importance that work on research and development of vaccines continues to prevent infectious diseases. The CE-PID has extensive experience in conducting vaccine clinical studies in various populations, including development of effective influenza vaccines for use in infants and young children and the human papilloma virus vaccine development for use in adolescents whereby 2-dose courses were shown to be non-inferior to 3-dose courses, leading to benefits of significant cost savings and consequent increased access.
The past 20 years in Thailand has seen major challenges and breakthroughs in tackling HIV infection on a public health scale, which has driven comprehensive responsive research efforts in developing treatments and health delivery systems in response. It has consequently progressed to a regional leader in its response to the global HIV epidemic. The majority of pediatric HIV in Thailand during this time was the result of maternal to child transmission (MTC) perinatally, with rates as high as 20-25%. Subsequent research and implementation efforts to improve maternal HIV treatments and perinatal screening procedures led to MTC rates dropping to approximately 2%. In the last decade, CE-PID has collaborated with Adult Infectious Diseases and Obstetric Divisions at King Chulalongkorn Memorial Hospital (KCMH) and the Thai Red Cross AIDS Research Center in conducting clinical research to inform efforts to reduce national MTC rates, and has also continued to conduct clinical research in antiretroviral drug development for pediatric HIV. It has also taken part in training of personnel to increase knowledge in the medical community on the management of child and maternal HIV at both national and regional levels.
Antimicrobial resistant organisms are another major global public health challenge with numerous initiatives and policies being implemented in effort to slow the development of antimicrobial resistance, including the practice of surveillance systems and antimicrobial stewardship programs. Data collected at KCMH has found that in children with Klebsiella pneumoniae infections, 20% are Carbapenem resistant Enterobacteriaceae (CRE) and 5% of all E. coli strains found are CRE, highlighting the need for research conduct in this area to tackle this ongoing challenge. With the increasing interconnectedness of global infrastructure and communications, infectious diseases are able to rapidly spread more now than ever before. The spread of emerging infectious diseases has major public health implications, as has been seen with COVID-19, the Zika Virus, MERS, Ebola and Avian Influenza, in addition to re-emergent epidemics such as those seen with measles and pertussis. It is therefore essential surveillance, preparation and coordinated responses at both hospital and public health level nationally, regionally and internationally are in place to ensure optimal management of such threats are occurs. The CE-PID has collaborated extensively with the Thai Red Cross Emerging Infectious Diseases Clinical Center throughout such epidemics in both policy development, emergency response services and implementation, particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic. With tuberculosis being another major re-emerging public health challenge in Thailand, the CE-PID’s work also focuses on the epidemiology, diagnosis and management of pediatric multidrug resistant tuberculosis. Ongoing studies include those with lipoarabinomannan assays and pharmacokinetic studies on second-line treatments for pediatric tuberculosis.
In an ever-changing field of pediatric infectious diseases from new clinical challenges to scientific developments, it is vital the work of the Center of Excellence for Pediatric Infectious Diseases and Vaccines continues to research and improve practices in diagnosis, treatment and prevention of pediatric infectious diseases. Its enthusiastic research team and affiliated organizations are experienced across a wide range of pediatric infectious diseases fields and are proud to continue its contribution to clinical services, research, teaching, and public health.
To be an international center of research in pediatric infectious diseases and vaccines and a regional center of excellence for education in pediatric infectious diseases
October 2016 - September 2017
Establishment as a Research Unit in Pediatric Infectious Diseases and Vaccines with funding from the Chulalongkorn University Ratchadapisek Sompotch Fund (Division of Science, Technology and Health)
October 2017 – September 2018
Establishment of the Center of Excellence for Pediatric Infectious Diseases and Vaccines (Year 1) with funding from the Chulalongkorn University Ratchadapisek Sompotch Fund (Division of Science, Technology and Health)
October 2018 - September 2019
Continuation of the Center of Excellence for Pediatric Infectious Diseases and Vaccines (Year 2) with funding from the Chulalongkorn University Ratchadapisek Sompotch Fund (Division of Science, Technology and Health)