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 colleagues from universities in Malaysia:

Background: Dengue, a major global public health concern, is growing more prevalent. Extensive measures have been undertaken to prevent and control dengue transmission in Malaysia including understanding and modifying human behaviour. This study was designed to assist in planning an effective health intervention for dengue by measuring residents’ knowledge, attitudes, and practice (KAP) in hotspot areas of Sabah, East Malaysia. Methods: A community-based and cross-sectional study was conducted at a known dengue hotspot in Sabah involving 463 residents aged 18 years and above. Information on the socio-demographic characteristics of the residents and their KAP towards dengue was collected using a structured pre-validated questionnaire developed by the researchers. In addition, residents were invited to participate in a dengue seroprevalence study using a dengue immunoglobulin (Ig)M and IgG ELISA kit. Results: Most of the residents correctly identified common signs and symptoms of dengue such as fever (84.4%), chills (70.7%), and nausea or vomiting (56.0%). Approximately half of the residents (51.3%) had good knowledge, 66.0% had a positive attitude, and 63.7% described their positive practice for dengue prevention and control, respectively. The dengue seroprevalence study included 200 of the 463 residents; IgG and IgM seropositivity was 74.1% (n = 63) and 7.1% (n = 6), respectively. Based on logistic regression analysis, locals and migrants differed considerably in terms of their knowledge and attitude towards dengue prevention and control, while gender and level of education were predictive of practice level (p < 0.05) among all sociodemographic variables examined. Knowledge was strongly correlated with attitude (p < 0.0001) and practice (p < 0.0014). Discussion: In order to effectively control dengue epidemics in Sabah, a proactive attitude and behavioural changes by community residents are both required. In order to effectively prevent and manage dengue transmission in this hotspot area, a coordinated collaborative effort between government and private sectors, housing residential committees and individual residents is essential.

 

2: This study is one aspect of an ongoing collaboration on antibiotic-resistant typhoid with colleagues from universities in Pakistan and Australia:

Background: Increasing antibiotic resistance by pathogenic bacteria is observed in poor sanitary conditions. The peak incidence of typhoid occurs between 515 years of age. This is the most common bacteremic illness of children in Pakistan. The aim of this study was to investigate the frequency of drug-resistant Salmonella Typhi and S. Paratyphi A in children hospitalized or treated as outpatients at a tertiary care centre that serves Gadap Town, an extensive slum district of Karachi. Methods: A total of 275 peripheral blood samples were collected from children up to 14 years old who presented with clinical features of typhoid to Fatima Hospital, Baqai Medical University, over a two-year period. Samples were cultured for growth of aerobic and facultative anaerobic bacteria, identified by biochemical reactions. Antimicrobial susceptibility was tested by Kirby-Bauer disc diffusion using eight different antibiotics. Results: Among all samples, 30 (10.9%) were positive for S. Typhi by blood culture. The rate of positivity was 23 (76.7%) cases for ages 5–14 years, three (10.0%) in each of age groups 2.0–2.9 and 4.0–4.9 years, and one patient (3.3%) aged 3.0–3.9 years. The majority of S. Typhi isolates were resistant to co-trimoxazole (66.7%), ampicillin (63.3%), nalidixic acid (60.0%), chloramphenicol (50.0%) and aztreonam (50.0%). However, most isolates were susceptible to ceftriaxone (76.7%) and ciprofloxacin (66.7%). There were 15 multidrug-resistant isolates but no typhoid-related deaths. Conclusion: Our findings show evidence of antimicrobial resistance by S. Typhi isolated from Karachiite children living in a poverty-stricken setting where water quality and sanitation are both unsatisfactory. Currently, Pakistan’s most populated city is recognized as a focus of typhoid cases. Therefore, this first report of the emergence of confirmed cases of multidrug-resistant S. Typhi from the only public hospital in its largest neighbourhood identifies a grave public health concern.

 

3. This study on pathogen early detection in Hanoi wastewater forms the start of a new collaboration on infectious disease surveillance in Vietnam with colleagues in the USA:

Background: Monitoring the advent and prevalence of SARS-CoV-2 variants of concern and variants of interest in a community could help local health authorities to make informed decisions in the best interests of the population’s health. Methods: Since the onset of COVID-19, pre-sewage treatment wastewater sampling has been harnessed as a non-evasive large-scale pathogen surveillance tool. Wastewater surveillance complements clinical diagnosis because between 7–14 days’ early warning detection of transmission by asymptomatic infected individuals is achieved without excessive resources and labor required for frequent human testing by an approved diagnostic microbiology laboratory. Results: The level of sensitivity of SARS-CoV-2 detection in sewage currently approximates to one in 2,000 people, thereby being sufficiently accurate to identify the location of an urban outbreak to a close geographical proximity or large building occupancy. Discussion: The establishment of infrastructure for wastewater-based SARS-CoV-2 surveillance serves as an entry point for monitoring other pathogenic infectious agents (of viral, bacterial, fungal, and parasite origin) in resource-limited settings. Conclusion: This approach provides a more rapid and accurate early warning system for the outbreak of notifiable infectious diseases than more traditional public health surveillance systems. Furthermore, this technology should enable medical researchers to investigate horizontal transfer among enteric bacterial isolates of antimicrobial resistance (AMR) genes, and even to detect chemicals or biomarkers that humans excrete during the course of infectious or metabolic diseases.

Selected publications

Taylor-Robinson AW, Nguyen TH. Infectious disease surveillance in Vietnam: pathogen early detection in Hanoi wastewater. Exploratory Research and Hypothesis in Medicine 7, in press, 2022. 4 pages. doi: 10.14218/ERHM.2022.00089.

Taylor-Robinson AW. Pakistan floods: incidence of vector- and water-borne infectious diseases soars. Microbes and Infectious Diseases 3(4), 776-779, 2022. doi: 10.21608/mid.2022.166660.1392.

Nguyen KQ, Nguyen LMA, Taylor-Robinson AW. Global “flu-ization” of COVID-19: A perspective from Vietnam. Frontiers in Public Health 10, 987467, 2022. 6 pages. doi: 10.3389/fpubh.2022.987467.

Clark NF, Taylor-Robinson AW, Heimann K. Could chlorophyllins improve the safety profile of beta-d-N4-hydroxycytidine versus N-hydroxycytidine, the active ingredient of the SARS-CoV-2 antiviral molnupiravir? Therapeutic Advances in Drug Safety, 13, 1-4, 2022. doi: 10.1177/20420986221107753

Caffery LA, Muurlink OT, Taylor-Robinson AW. Survival of rural telehealth services post-pandemic in Australia: a call to retain the gains in the ‘new normal’. Australian Journal of Rural Health, 30(4), 544-549, 2022. doi: 10.1111/ajr.12877.

Sedarat Z, Taylor-Robinson AW. Biofilm formation by pathogenic bacteria: applying a Staphylococcus aureus model to appraise potential targets for therapeutic intervention. Pathogens 11(4), 388, 2022. 20 pages. doi: 10.3390/pathogens11040388.

Taylor-Robinson SD, Morgan MY, Spearman CW, Suliman AAA, Corrah T, Oleribe OO, Taylor-Robinson AW. Why SARS-CoV-2 vaccines still matter in Africa. Quarterly Journal of Medicine – Monthly Journal of the Association of Physicians 115(3), 191-192, 2022. doi: 10.1093/qjmed/hcac014.

Mohsin S, Aziz Q, Muurlink OT, Taylor-Robinson AW. Burden of antibiotic resistance among children with typhoid in Gadap Town, Karachi, Pakistan. Microbes and Infectious Diseases 3(1): 81-91, 2022. doi: 10.21608/MID.2021.87000.1174.

Mac Guad R, Sim MS, Carandang RR, Solidum JN, Taylor-Robinson AW, Wu Y-S, Aung Y-N, Low W-Y, Jeffree MS, Sekaran SD, Murugaiah C, Azizan N. Different domains of dengue research in the Philippines: a systematic review and meta-analysis of questionnaire-based studies. PLoS One 16(12): e0261412, 2021. 23 pages. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0261412.

Caffery LA, Muurlink OT, Taylor-Robinson AW. Social disrupters: constructing a new way to deliver primary health services in a rural setting. Australasian Journal of Regional Studies 27(2), 237-257, 2021. doi: 10.3316/informit.254129427426908.

Mac Guad R, Mangantig E, Low W-Y, Taylor-Robinson AW, Azzani M, Sekaran SD, Sim MS, Azizan N. 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 21, 893, 2021. doi.org/10.1186/s12879-021-06606-6.

Makanjuola RO, Bello AA, Sadiq FU, Ishaleku D, Oduwole KH, Taylor-Robinson AW. 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 2(3), 423-432, 2021. doi: 10.21608/mid.2021.71677.1142.

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. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/hsc.13763

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. doi.org/10.1186/s40249-020-00653-y.

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. doi.org/10.1089/vbz.2019.2467.


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.