Oriol Mitjà i Villar (born 1980) is a Catalan-born Spanishresearcher 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. 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.
Oriol Mitjà graduated in medicine from the University of Barcelona in 2004, after completing a residency in infectious diseases and a diploma in Hygiene and Tropical Medicine at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine. 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.
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‘  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.