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Paula Tesine.jpg

Congratulations to Dr Paula Tesine who is the successful recipient of the Deborah Lehmann Research Award. As the third recipient of the Deborah Lehmann Research Award, Dr Tesine received $30,000 towards her research.

Supported by the Wesfarmers Centre of Vaccines and Infectious Diseases, the Award is designed to provide training and development for early- to mid-career researchers from the Western Pacific, First Nations of Australia and/or Aotearoa New Zealand, and Pasifika researchers.

Dr Tesine’s successful project is titled ‘A window of opportunity? – Safety and feasibility of early postpartum primaquine radical cure of maternal Plasmodium vivax infections to improve maternal and infant outcomes’, and aims to determine how safe and feasible it is to administer primaquine within the first 7 days of life as a cure for Plasmodium vivax malaria in postpartum mothers and their young infants with normal G6PD enzyme activity in Papua New Guinea.

“I live in a country with high rates of malaria infection and transmission, particularly in lowland PNG,” says Dr Tesine. “Diagnosing and treating malaria is a common occurrence. It’s the most common cause for hospital visits with children more commonly presenting with severe malaria and requiring hospital admissions.

“This research will provide insights into primaquine transfer through breastmilk to the young neonate, inform age specific guidelines for use of primaquine in infants, and investigate whether use of primaquine in preventing postpartum vivax malaria will improve infant health outcomes within the first 6 months of life. 

“The dream is to contribute to the production of antimalarial vaccines eventually. But for now, to assist in policy change to improve infant health outcomes in malaria endemic countries.”