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 28 peer-reviewed publications, traveler to over 60 countries, published photographer and internationally-exhibited painter, volunteer trained in disaster-response, CPR and DV counseling.
You May Also Like
DEC 03, 2019
Space & Astronomy
DEC 03, 2019
Will ISRO Succeed At Building its Own Space Station?
When hearing the words “space station,” the International Space Station probably comes to mind; but the International Space Station wasn’...
DEC 09, 2019
Space & Astronomy
DEC 09, 2019
How Close is SpaceX to Sending Humans to Space?
NASA is one of the world’s most capable space agencies, but a crippling budget prevents it from developing a new space vehicle of its own. Instead, N...
DEC 15, 2019
Space & Astronomy
DEC 15, 2019
MAVEN Mission Connects Mars' Wind Patterns to Surface Features
NASA’s MAVEN mission, launched on November 18th, 2013, has been orbiting Mars and investigating the planet’s features for more than half a deca...
JAN 14, 2020
Plants & Animals
JAN 14, 2020
Male Hippos Must Challenge the Overlord for Mating Rights
Hippos are in constant need of water, not only because they need to drink, but because they need to stay cool. As this particular lagoon begins to dry up,...
JAN 21, 2020
Space & Astronomy
JAN 21, 2020
Here's Why SpaceX Blew Up a Falcon 9 Rocket in Mid-Air
SpaceX completed a substantial milestone for NASA’s Commercial Crew Program this week, an undertaking that involved one of the commercial space compa...
FEB 11, 2020
Plants & Animals
FEB 11, 2020
How the World's Fastest Cat Compares to the World's Fastest Dog
Cheetahs are the world’s fastest land animal; their powerful hind legs give them incredible launching power and their stretchy spines provide a massi...
Loading Comments...