Oriol Mitjà

Oriol Mitjà
FPdGi Valencia 016.jpg
Born23 June 1980 Edit this on Wikidata (age 41)
Arenys de Munt Edit this on Wikidata
Alma mater
OccupationPhysician, scientist Edit this on Wikidata
  • Prince of Girona award (2013)
  • Catalan of the year Award (2016)
  • Peace prize of the United Nations Association (2017)
  • International Award Alfonso Comín (2017) Edit this on Wikidata

Oriol Mitjà i Villar (born 1980)[1] is a Catalan-born Spanish researcher and consultant physician in internal medicine and infectious diseases with expertise in poverty-related tropical diseases. He has conducted research at the Lihir Medical Centre in Papua New Guinea since 2010 on new diagnostic and therapeutic tools to eradicate yaws.[2] He was awarded the Princess of Girona Award in the scientific research category. Currently at the Germans Trias i Pujol Research Institute, Mitjà is conducting research on SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus disease (COVID-19) and strategies to control the infection at a community level.[3][4]


Oriol Mitjà graduated in medicine from the University of Barcelona in 2004, after completing a residency in infectious diseases[5] and a diploma in Hygiene and Tropical Medicine at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine.[6] In 2012, he finished his Ph.D. in Medicine in Barcelona; his thesis was entitled "Strategies for the control of the yaws and other neglected tropical diseases of the South Pacific islands" and was based on his on-site research at the Lihir medical center in Papua New Guinea.[7]

Professional activity

Yaws Eradication

After finishing his activity as a resident doctor, Mitjà focused on the development of diagnostic and therapeutic solutions to control and eradicate skin neglected tropical diseases, particularly yaws - which is a chronic and debilitating bacterial infection that affects the skin and bones.

Since 2010, he collaborated with the Barcelona Institute of Global Health. He conducted a randomized trial that was published in 'The Lancet' [8] that revealed that a single-dose oral azithromycin is effective to cure yaws and is easier and safer to administer as compared to the standard treatment with injectable penicillin. Accordingly, the World Health Organization (WHO) changed the treatment policies to recommend the use of azithromycin as the first-line treatment for yaws.

The previous yaws eradication campaign was launched in 1952 with estimated cases totaled 50 million worldwide. Twelve years later, prevalence had plunged by 95%. Governments and funding agencies soon lost interest and infection rates began climbing back up in the 1970s. The present WHO eradication strategy for yaws is mass treatment with single-dose oral azithromycin, followed by resurveys to find residual cases. Mitjà has demonstrated that the new strategy is effective in eliminating yaws from endemic countries and if implemented everywhere could result in yaws eradication, which was published in the New England Journal of Medicine.

Research on the new SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus

In 2018, Oriol Mitjà transferred his research lines to the Germans Trias i Pujol Research Institute. Since March 2020, he works to transfer his knowledge on epidemiology into clinical solutions for the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic. Mitjà is conducting research to advance knowledge in the field of therapeutics, where he aims at repurposing existing therapies to reduce the risk of infection with the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus. In particular, he has led a clinical assay to verify whether hydroxychloroquine administration to people who have been exposed to the coronavirus at home, in hospitals or in nursing home reduces the risk of developing the disease[3] This strategy is technically called post-exposure prophylaxis. The results of this research have been published in the New England Journal of Medicine.[9] Additionally, Mitjà leads essays to assess the efficacy of a novel treatment based on an immunoglobulin anti-SARS-CoV-2, and of a treatment based on the transfusion of convalescent plasma, to provide immediate protection to the people exposed to the virus. Mitjà is also conducting research in the field of diagnostics, where he is assessing the validity of Rapid antigen tests to facilitate massive screening of the population, and in the areas of transmission and risk factors.

Mitjà has repeatedly spoken in favor of intensifying the SARS-CoV-2 prevention and containment strategy and requested full lockdown in Spain during the month of March 2020.[4] He has coordinated the drafting of an expert report commissioned by the Government of Catalonia that was delivered on April 21, 2020.

Prizes and distinctions

In 2012, Mitjà was awarded the Swiss Foundation Anne-Maurer Cecchini prize as a result of the publication of the aforementioned study re yaws in The Lancet

In 2013, he was awarded the Prince of Girona Foundation[10] for Scientific Research for his "exemplary dedication in the field of endemic infectious diseases in developing countries and the great international impact of his work aimed at eradicating yaws disease of the planet".

In 2015, a documentary about his research project called "Where the Roads End" was produced by Noemí Cuní/David Fonseca.

In 2016, he received the Catalan of the Year Award and in 2017 received peace awards from the Association for United Nations in Spain[11] and the International Award Alfonso Comín,[12] in recognition of his work in favour of improving the living conditions of the people affected by the yaws.

In 2019, he was awarded a European Research Council Starting Grant to support research that aims to repurpose drugs to treat syphilis.[13]


  • Mitjà, O; Hays, R; Ipai, A; et al. (2012-01-28). "Single-dose azithromycin versus benzathine benzylpenicillin for treatment of yaws in children in Papua New Guinea: an open-label, non-inferiority, randomised trial". Lancet. 379 (9813): 342–7. doi:10.1016/S0140-6736(11)61624-3. PMID 22240407. S2CID 17517869.
  • Mitjà O; Houinei W; Moses P; at al. (2015). "Mass treatment with single-dose azithromycin for yaws". New England Journal of Medicine. 372 (8): 703–10. doi:10.1056/NEJMoa1408586. PMID 25693010.
  • Mitjà O; Godornes C; Houinei W; at al. (2018). "Re-emergence of yaws after single mass azithromycin treatment followed by targeted treatment: a longitudinal study". The Lancet. 391 (10130): 1599–1607. doi:10.1016/S0140-6736(18)30204-6. PMC 5920722. PMID 29428183.
  • Mitja, O; Marks, M; Konan, DPJ; et al. (2015). ""Global epidemiology of yaws " a systematic review". Lancet Global Health. 3 (6): e324–331. doi:10.1016/S2214-109X(15)00011-X. PMC 4696519. PMID 26001576.
  • Mitja, O; Asiedu, K; Mabey, D (2013). "Yaws". Lancet. 381 (9868): 763–73. doi:10.1016/S0140-6736(12)62130-8. PMID 23415015. S2CID 208791874.
  • Mitjà O; Corbacho-Monné M; Ubals M; at al. (2021). "A Cluster-Randomized Trial of Hydroxychloroquine for Prevention of Covid-19". New England Journal of Medicine. 384 (5): 417–27. doi:10.1056/NEJMoa2021801. ISSN 0028-4793. PMC 7722693. PMID 33289973.


  1. ^ Gallardo, Angels (2017-04-27). "El pian es pot erradicar, el cura una sola pastilla". El Periódico (in Catalan): 39. Retrieved 2016-06-04.
  2. ^ "LGL Lihir Medical Centre — Assai Consult". www.assai.com.au. Retrieved 2020-05-06.
  3. ^ a b Mitjà, Oriol; Clotet, Bonaventura (May 2020). "Use of antiviral drugs to reduce COVID-19 transmission". The Lancet Global Health. 8 (5): e639–e640. doi:10.1016/S2214-109X(20)30114-5. PMC 7104000. PMID 32199468.
  4. ^ a b Mitjà, Oriol; Arenas, Àlex; Rodó, Xavier; Tobias, Aurelio; Brew, Joe; Benlloch, José M. (11 April 2020). "Experts' request to the Spanish Government: move Spain towards complete lockdown". The Lancet. 395 (10231): 1193–1194. doi:10.1016/S0140-6736(20)30753-4. PMC 7158944. PMID 32224297.
  5. ^ Institut de Salut Global (ed.). "Equip ISGlobal" (in Catalan). Retrieved 2016-06-04.
  6. ^ Col·legi oficial de metges de Barcelona, ed. (2014-12-22). "El Dr. Oriol Mitjà, beca Bada de cooperació 2009, protagonitza La Contra de La Vanguardia" (in Catalan). Retrieved 2016-06-04.
  7. ^ Mitjà, Oriol (2012). Strategies to control yaws and other neglected tropical diseases in the South Pacific Islands. Universitat de Barcelona. Retrieved 2016-06-04.
  8. ^ Mitjà, O; Hays, R; Ipai, A; et al. (2012-01-28). "Single-dose azithromycin versus benzathine benzylpenicillin for treatment of yaws in children in Papua New Guinea: an open-label, non-inferiority, randomised trial". The Lancet. 379 (9813): 342–7. doi:10.1016/S0140-6736(11)61624-3. PMID 22240407. S2CID 17517869.
  9. ^ Mitjà, Oriol; et al. (2021). "A Cluster-Randomized Trial of Hydroxychloroquine for Prevention of Covid-19". New England Journal of Medicine. 384 (5): 417–427. doi:10.1056/NEJMoa2021801. ISSN 0028-4793. PMC 7722693. PMID 33289973.
  10. ^ A. M. Y. (2013-04-04). "El metge Oriol Mitjà, premi Príncep de Girona de ciència". El Periodico (in Catalan). Retrieved 2016-06-04.
  11. ^ 324cat, ed. (2017-11-29). "Oriol Mitjà rep el premi per la Pau per la seva feina contra la malaltia de Pian" (in Catalan). CCMA. {{cite journal}}: Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  12. ^ Llebaria Ramis, Mariona. "Fundació Alfons Comín". Retrieved 2018-07-07.
  13. ^ "CORDIS | European Commission".

External links

Media files used on this page

SARS-CoV-2 (Wikimedia colors).svg
Author/Creator: Geraki, Licence: CC BY-SA 4.0
SARS-CoV-2 logo in Wikimedia colors
FPdGi Valencia 016.jpg
Author/Creator: Oriol.mitja, Licence: CC BY-SA 4.0
Oriol Mitja, 2016