JUL 31, 2016 10:14 AM PDT

Research Benefactors Team up to Battle Resistant TB

WRITTEN BY: Carmen Leitch

The Africa Health Research Institute has been established to fight both HIV and tuberculosis (TB) in South Africa and beyond. With funding from U.K.-based Wellcome Trust and the U.S.-based Howard Hughes Medical Institute, the institute aims to make discoveries that will help solve this problem using clinical and basic research. A partner in this collaboration is KwaZulu-Natal Research Institute for TB-HIV (K-RITH). In the video, Alexander Pym takes us on a tour of that facility which has the tremendous advantage of being a laboratory that can directly access a clinic, with information flowing in both directions.

In the lab, the investigators are trying to find better ways to detect drug resistant TB. At present, it can take two or three months to determine the type of TB a patient might carry. While testing goes on, doctors can only guess at the proper treatment. Giving the patient the wrong drugs can also just make the TB they carry more resistant.

The researchers are trying to find out what genetic mutations occur in TB that make it resistant to treatment, so they can develop tests that pinpoint the type of TB in a patient. Then, doctors will know what therapy is best for that patient in only a matter of days or weeks.

TB has to be studied in a highly controlled environment because it can be transmitted directly through the air, so the scientists have access to one of the best biosafety labs on the entire continent of Africa.

They currently can treat drug-resistant TB cases in 18 months to two years, but would like to shorten that time significantly, to under nine months.
About the Author
  • Experienced research scientist and technical expert with authorships on over 30 peer-reviewed publications, traveler to over 70 countries, published photographer and internationally-exhibited painter, volunteer trained in disaster-response, CPR and DV counseling.
You May Also Like
JUL 31, 2020
Space & Astronomy
How Many Missions to Mars Have Been Successful?
JUL 31, 2020
How Many Missions to Mars Have Been Successful?
It’s commonly said that roughly half of all missions to Mars have succeeded- while roughly half have failed. But a ...
AUG 11, 2020
Cannabis Sciences
High THC Cannabis Linked to Anxiety
AUG 11, 2020
High THC Cannabis Linked to Anxiety
Researchers have found that people who use strains of cannabis high in tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the psychoactive comp ...
AUG 14, 2020
Plants & Animals
Tracking the Iconic American Bison
AUG 14, 2020
Tracking the Iconic American Bison
The Great Plains of Montana are home to one of the United States' largest land restoration projects, known as the Am ...
NOV 07, 2020
Space & Astronomy
Scientists Discover Planet with Atmosphere of Vaporized Rock
NOV 07, 2020
Scientists Discover Planet with Atmosphere of Vaporized Rock
Researchers have identified an exoplanet that appears to have an atmosphere composed of vaporized rock and oceans runnin ...
NOV 07, 2020
Space & Astronomy
Scientists Detect Origin of Fast Radio Burst in Milky Way
NOV 07, 2020
Scientists Detect Origin of Fast Radio Burst in Milky Way
Scientists have identified a burst of cosmic radio waves- intense flashes of radio emission that last just a few millise ...
JAN 19, 2021
Immunology
How Breastfeeding improves Infants Immunity?
JAN 19, 2021
How Breastfeeding improves Infants Immunity?
Breastfeeding benefits are well known for ages, and it has many positive impacts on infant's lives that continue wit ...
Loading Comments...