Andrew Vallely is a clinical epidemiologist with the Public Health Interventions Research Group at the Kirby Institute for Infection and Immunity in Society, Faculty of Medicine, UNSW. Andrew has more than 25 years experience in international public health, HIV/STI and infectious disease interventions research. He has designed and led multi-disciplinary research teams in Australia, Kenya, Myanmar, Papua New Guinea (PNG), Solomon Islands, Tanzania, United Kingdom and Vanuatu. In 2007, he established an international collaborative research group in sexual and reproductive health at the Papua New Guinea Institute of Medical Research (PNG IMR), where he was Head of the Sexual and Reproductive Health Unit and Deputy Director from 2010-15.
In the last decade, his collaborative research group has led the first field trials of a novel point-of-care human papillomavirus (HPV) test and treat strategy for cervical screening in low- and middle-income countries, showing for the first time that self-collected vaginal specimens are as good as clinician-collected cervical specimens both for detection of HPV infection (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27076663) and underlying cervical pre-cancer (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30391365; https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29906593), when tested at point-of-care using the GeneXpert platform. A field trial among 4000 women in PNG completed in Dec 2020 has confirmed the effectiveness, cost-effectiveness, health system implementation requirements and acceptability of this strategy (http://www.isrctn.com/ISRCTN13476702). In 2021, Andrew is leading the Kirby Institute’s engagement in a world-first proof-of-concept cervical cancer elimination program in the Western Pacific being conducted in collaboration with Cancer Council NSW, VCS Foundation, Family Planning NSW, the NHMRC Centre of Research Excellence in Cervical Cancer Control (C4), and in-country partners and stakeholders in PNG and Vanuatu (https://kirby.unsw.edu.au/news/major-collaboration-aims-eliminate-cervical-cancer-western-pacific).
Andrew leads a UK Wellcome Trust / NHMRC co-funded cluster randomised trial in PNG to evaluate antenatal point-of-care testing and treatment of sexually transmitted infections to improve birth outcomes in high-burden, low-income settings (the WANTAIM Trial; https://kirby.unsw.edu.au/project/wantaim-women-and-newborn-trial-antenatal-interventions-and-management). This trial builds on his earlier research that demonstrated the poor performance of 'syndromic' STI management (based on clinical features alone without laboratory confirmation) in this setting (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29288183) and a successful pilot study of antenatal point-of-care STI testing and treatment (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27268218). WANTAIM is expected to complete in 2021 and to report findings in 2022.