Time is running out to save missing man infected with malaria

When Matthew Lloyd volunteered to take part in clinical trials to help find a vaccine for malaria, he was signing up for a project which it is hoped could one day eradicate a disease that kills one million people each year.

Now it is feared that the 35-year-old nurse's sudden unexplained disappearance half way through the pioneering medical project could put his own life at risk.

Yesterday the family of the unmarried man, who was injected with the potentially fatal disease as part of the long-running public-health experiment, made a televised appeal pleading with him to seek urgent medical attention after apparently walking out on his job at Southampton General Hospital where he had phoned in sick.

It is understood that Mr Lloyd, described by his parents as "responsible, ambitious and focused", was taking part along with seven others in a trial in Oxford, but had failed to turn up for an appointment there last week. He had been due to receive potentially life-saving anti-malarial medicine to protect him from the effects of the disease.

His parents, Michael and Doreen Holland, described his going missing as totally out of character. "We regularly speak to him on the phone, by text and by email and we knew he was taking part in these clinical trials; he told us about it back in July.

"We were totally shocked to find out that he had not turned up to his appointment in Oxford on 7 October. It is not like him to take on a project and not follow it through. He was quite excited about taking part in these trials. He was doing this as a way of getting more experience and a means of furthering his career as a nurse," they said.

Malaria is the leading killer of children under the age of five in sub-Saharan Africa and is caused by a parasite transmitted by the female anopheles mosquito. About 500 million cases of the disease occur every year, mostly in the developing world and the discovery of a vaccine has become one of the great goals of modern medicine.

Oxford University said patient confidentiality rules meant it could not confirm whether Mr Lloyd was taking part in its world-leading vaccine studies.

They have been taking place for the last decade under the direction of Professor Adrian Hill at the Jenner Institute, supported by charities including the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, which was set up by the Microsoft billionaire and his wife.

Under its current research programme, which is being carried out jointly with Imperial College London and Southampton University, participants are divided into two groups. In blind trials one group is given the candidate vaccine and the remainder a placebo to act as a control. They are then injected with a strain of malaria which is non-contagious and fully treatable using standard over-the-counter anti-malarial drugs. They are then monitored to see to what degree the vaccine offers protection. Participation in the blind trials can last for between three and 12 months.

Police, who broke down the door of Mr Lloyd's one-bedroom flat in Southampton to search inside when the alarm was first raised, believe he may have travelled to London and have also tracked his movements to Birmingham and Milton Keynes where his bank card was used. He is also known to have friends in Cornwall and Somerset.

Det Insp Dave Jackson, of Hampshire police, said: "Our concerns for Matthew's health are increasing because he needs urgent medication, which he does not have with him.

"Even the smallest detail could prove crucial in finding Matthew so he can receive his life-saving medication in time."

Life and Style
A monstrous idea? Body transplants might no longer be science fiction
Science An Italian neurosurgeon believes so - and it's not quite as implausible as it sounds, says Steve Connor
Demba Ba (right) celebrates after Besiktas win on penalties
footballThere was no happy return to the Ataturk Stadium, where the Reds famously won Champions League
Arts and Entertainment
Natural beauty: Aidan Turner stars in the new series of Poldark
arts + ents
Mia Freedman, editorial director of the Mamamia website, reads out a tweet she was sent.
arts + ents
Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebookPart of The Independent’s new eBook series The Great Composers
Arts and Entertainment
The write stuff: masters of story-telling James Joyce, left, and Thomas Hardy
arts + ents...begging to differ, John Walsh can't even begin to number the ways
Jose Mourinho on Sky Sports
footballEXCLUSIVE COLUMN Paul Scholes: It was not a leg-breaking tackle, as the Chelsea manager had claimed
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Recruitment Genius: Bookkeeper

    £23000 - £26000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This small, friendly, proactive...

    Recruitment Genius: Photographic Event Crew

    £14500 - £22800 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

    Recruitment Genius: Software Developers - .NET / ASP.NET / WebAPI / JavaScript

    Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A Software Developer is required to join a lea...

    Austen Lloyd: Corporate Tax Solicitor - City

    Excellent Salary: Austen Lloyd: A first rate opportunity to join a top ranking...

    Day In a Page

    HIV pill: Scientists hail discovery of 'game-changer' that cuts the risk of infection among gay men by 86%

    Scientists hail daily pill that protects against HIV infection

    Breakthrough in battle against global scourge – but will the NHS pay for it?
    How we must adjust our lifestyles to nature: Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch

    Time to play God

    Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch where we may need to redefine nature itself
    MacGyver returns, but with a difference: Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman

    MacGyver returns, but with a difference

    Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman
    Tunnel renaissance: Why cities are hiding roads down in the ground

    Tunnel renaissance

    Why cities are hiding roads underground
    'Backstreet Boys - Show 'Em What You're Made Of': An affectionate look at five middle-aged men

    Boys to men

    The Backstreet Boys might be middle-aged, married and have dodgy knees, but a heartfelt documentary reveals they’re not going gently into pop’s good night
    Crufts 2015: Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?

    Crufts 2015

    Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?
    10 best projectors

    How to make your home cinema more cinematic: 10 best projectors

    Want to recreate the big-screen experience in your sitting room? IndyBest sizes up gadgets to form your film-watching
    Manchester City 1 Barcelona 2 player ratings: Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man?

    Manchester City vs Barcelona player ratings

    Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man at the Etihad?
    Arsenal vs Monaco: Monaco - the making of Gunners' manager Arsene Wenger

    Monaco: the making of Wenger

    Jack Pitt-Brooke speaks to former players and learns the Frenchman’s man-management has always been one of his best skills
    Cricket World Cup 2015: Chris Gayle - the West Indies' enigma lives up to his reputation

    Chris Gayle: The West Indies' enigma

    Some said the game's eternal rebel was washed up. As ever, he proved he writes the scripts by producing a blistering World Cup innings
    In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare and murky loyalties prevails

    In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare

    This war in the shadows has been going on since the fall of Mr Yanukovych
    'Birdman' and 'Bullets Over Broadway': Homage or plagiarism?

    Homage or plagiarism?

    'Birdman' shares much DNA with Woody Allen's 'Bullets Over Broadway'
    Broadchurch ends as damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

    A damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

    Broadchurch, Series 2 finale, review
    A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower: inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

    Inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

    A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower