Andrew W. Taylor-Robinson, PhD

International Scholar

  •  Professor of Microbiology and Immunology | VinUniversity College of Health Sciences
  •  Australia | Bangladesh | Ethiopia | India | Indonesia | Iraq | Nepal | Malaysia | Nigeria | Pakistan | Philippines | Sri Lanka | United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland | Vietnam
  •   Antimicrobial Resistance | Arboviruses | Dengue | Epidemiology | Immunology | Infection Control & Prevention | Infectious disease | Malaria | mosquito-transmitted diseases

Languages: English (native), French (intermediate), German (basic)

Bio statement

I have 30-plus years’ research experience of infectious diseases, principally malaria, dengue, and other arboviruses. My interest started in immunology –an experimental model of blood-stage plasmodial infection – which provided insights into immune regulation and vaccine design of mainstream relevance. I have progressively developed a broader and more clinical focus encompassing epidemiology, treatment, prevention, and control.

Current research collaborations involve colleagues in endemic countries in South and Southeast Asia and sub-Saharan Africa. I joined VinUniversity in 2021 as a Professor of Microbiology and Immunology.

I deliver research-engaged teaching of medical microbiology, immunology, and public health at all taught undergraduate and postgraduate levels.

Recent global health projects

1: This study is one aspect of a fruitful collaboration on dengue with the Faculty of Medicine and Health Science, Universiti Malaysia Sabah:

Development and validation of a structured survey questionnaire on knowledge, attitude, preventive practice, and treatment-seeking behaviour regarding dengue among the resident population of Sabah, Malaysia: an exploratory factor analysis (BMC Infectious Diseases, accepted for publication, 2021).

Background: Several studies have reported a significant association of knowledge, attitude and preventive practice (KAP) regarding dengue infection among community’s resident in endemic areas. In this study we aimed to assess and develop a reliable and valid KAP survey on the subject of dengue that is suitable for the resident population of Sabah, Malaysia. Methods: A community-based cross-sectional study was conducted from October 2019 to February 2020 involving 468 respondents. Information on the socio-demographic characteristics of the participants (six items), their KAP (44, 15, and 18 items on knowledge, attitude, and practice, respectively), and treatment-seeking behavior (five items) towards dengue were collected using a structured questionnaire. Data analysis was performed using SPSS and R software in the R Studio environment. The knowledge section was analyzed by two-parameter logistic item response theory (2-PL IRT) using ltm package. The construct validity and reliability of items for sections on attitude, practice, and treatment-seeking behavior were analyzed using psy package. Results: For the knowledge section, only 70.5% (31/44) of items were within or close to the parameter acceptable range of -3 to +3 of difficulty. In terms of discrimination, 65.9% (29/44) of items were within or close to the acceptable range of 0.35 to 2.5, and 24 items (54.5%) failed to fit the 2-PL IRT model (P < 0.05) after assessing by goodness-of-fit analysis. Only eight items were reliable and retained in the attitude section with a Kaiser-Meyer-Olkin (KMO) test value of > 0.7, while based on the communalities, 11 items in the attitude section were excluded due to very low h2, factor loading values and low correlation with the total (< 0.5). The practice section was found suitable for factor analysis because the KMO value was > 0.7. The communalities of the practice section showed that seven items had low h2 values (< 0.3), which were therefore excluded from further analysis, and only 11 items were retained. Conclusions: The KAP items retained in the final version of the survey were reliable and valid to be used as a questionnaire reference when conducting future similar studies among the population of Sabah.

2: This study is one aspect of an ongoing collaboration on malaria with colleagues from universities in Nigeria and Italy:

Comparative analysis of the unregulated sale of antimicrobial prescription medication by drug retailers before and during the COVID-19 pandemic in Abuja, Nigeria (Microbes and Infectious Diseases, published online May 2021).

Background: The sustained high-level unregulated sale of prescription medicines in developing countries is recognized as a significant factor in the development of drug resistance among pathogenic microorganisms. Apart from the millions of deaths annually that are attributed directly to antimicrobial resistance to commonly prescribed medicines this major global public health problem hinders achieving the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals by its target of 2030. This study compared the extent of the sale of non-prescribed antimalarial medication and of antibiotics before and during the coronavirus disease (COVID)-19 pandemic in each of the six local government areas within the Federal Capital Territory-Abuja, Nigeria. Methods: A structured questionnaire was designed to determine the percentage sales of both antimalarials and antibiotics, without diagnosis or prescription from qualified medical practitioners, over six-month periods between January to June of 2019 and 2020. Results: The data showed that all of the 130 community pharmacies and registered chemist stores where questionnaires were completed engaged in non-prescribed sales of both sets of medicine. Moreover, approximately three-quarters of drug retailers recorded increased patronage in the purchase of both classes of antimicrobial during the 2020 survey period that coincided with the first few months of the COVID-19 pandemic. Over successive years this saw an overall rise in over-the-counter sales of antimalarials and antibiotics (each p < 0.01). Yet, only Abuja Municipal Area Council and Bwari (p < 0.0001 and p < 0.001, respectively) recorded significant increases in indiscriminate sales of each medicine. Conclusion: In line with the high frequency of self-medication, this report points to the threat of possible emergence and spread of multidrug-resistant bacterial and Plasmodium spp. in the Abuja region. These findings highlight the imperative requirement for public health policymakers to implement effective strategies to curb the extensive unregulated sale of prescription drugs in the nation’s capital city and likely elsewhere in Nigeria.

Selected publications

Taylor-Robinson AW, Mohsin S. Response to Letter to the Editor: Typhoid fever in Pakistan: a recurrent challenge? Microbes Infect Chemother. 2022; 2: e1336

Mohsin S, Taylor-Robinson AW. Persistence of first-line antibiotic-resistant typhoid fever among Pakistani children: a growing concern for regional antimicrobial stewardship. Microbes Infect Chemother. 2022; 2: e1301.

Durga, P., Caffery, L. A., Muurlink, O. T., & Taylor-Robinson, A. W. (2022). Under the regulatory radar: Unregulated rural healthcare in Bangladesh and Australia. Health & Social Care in the Community, 00, 1– 9.

Muurlink OT, Taylor-Robinson AW. The ‘lifecycle’ of human beings: a call to explore vector-borne diseases from an ecosystem perspective. BMC Infectious Diseases of Poverty 9, 37, 2020.

Gyawali N, Taylor-Robinson AW, Bradbury RS, Potter A, Aaskov JG. Infection of western gray kangaroos (Macropus fuliginosus) with Australian arboviruses associated with human infection. Vector-Borne & Zoonotic Diseases 20(1), 33-39, 2020.

Clark NF, Taylor-Robinson AW. An ecologically framed comparison of the potential for zoonotic transmission of non-human and human-infecting species of malaria parasite. Yale Journal of Biology and Medicine 94(2), 361-373, 2021.

Clark NF, Taylor-Robinson AW. COVID-19 therapy: could a copper derivative of chlorophyll a be used to treat lymphopenia associated with severe symptoms of SARS-CoV-2 infection? Frontiers in Medicine 8, 620175, 2021. doi: 10.3389/fmed.2021.620175. 5 pages.

Browne JJ, Matthews EH, Taylor-Robinson AW, Kyd JM. Otopathogen interactions in the nasopharynx of children, and the predictive value of nasopharyngeal aspirate culture for the aetiology of upper respiratory infections. Journal of Paediatrics and Child Health 57(7), 1016-1022, 2021. doi: 10.1111/jpc.15370.