Diagnosing tuberculosis is difficult in people who struggle to cough up sputum samples – a particular problem in children and people living with HIV. One promising alternative to testing sputum is to test stool. Tiyese Jeranji unpacks the latest developments in this area.
Tuberculosis (TB) can be resistant to treatment with several different drugs. Tests that identify which drugs someone’s TB is resistant to are critical to ensuring that people are not treated with drugs that don’t work for them, especially given the significant side effects associated with some of the drugs. Elri Voigt assesses the state of play in testing for TB drug resistance and the promise of exciting new technologies, such as whole genome sequencing.
Some cases of tuberculosis (TB) can be successfully treated in as little as two months – a third of the current standard of six months. This is according to early findings from the landmark TRUNCATE TB trial presented at last week’s Union World Conference on Lung Health. Elri Voigt reports.
Professor Wendy Stevens believes ‘completely in the honesty of science’ and this, she says, has landed her in the naughty corner many times throughout her career. Biénne Huisman spoke to Stevens – a global leader in HIV and TB laboratory medicine about her career, what you choose when science and politics collide, and the value of swimming upstream.
When Novel Chegou first arrived in Stellenbosch from Cameroon in 2004 he sold African crafts at a stall next to the town’s village green to save money for his studies. Today, Professor Chegou is one of South Africa’s leading tuberculosis researchers. Biénne Huisman caught up with Chegou shortly after the announcement that he had been awarded the Royal Society Africa Prize.
South Africa last published comprehensive guidelines for the management of childhood tuberculosis (TB) in 2013. Almost a decade later, the guidelines are being updated to recommend a shortened TB treatment regimen for most children with pulmonary TB. Catherine Tomlinson reports.
Dr Francesca Conradie knew she wanted to be a doctor when she was eight years old. Now, 50 years later, she is a pioneer in the field of tuberculosis (TB) and led a landmark trial that changed how drug-resistant TB is treated. Aisha Abdool Karim spoke to her about the reasons behind her switch from HIV research to TB, her initial surprise at the remarkable NiX trial results, and the man who has shaped her life – her father.
Long-acting injections have been successfully used as contraception and more recently HIV prevention. Now researchers are exploring whether similar long-acting injections could be used for the prevention and treatment of tuberculosis. Tiyese Jeranji reports.
According to new estimates from the World Health Organization around 61 000 people died of TB in South Africa in 2020, an increase of around 5% over 2019. That works out to over 1 100 TB deaths in the country every week. We urgently need a transparent TB recovery plan and we need both President Cyril Ramaphosa and Health Minister Joe Phaahla to invest real political capital in the implementation of the plan, the authors argue.
The COVID-19 pandemic caused huge setbacks for the fight against TB. Now, provinces are developing TB catch-up plans. The Western Cape Department of Health will soon launch a TB dashboard as part of its “multi-sectorial TB emergency response plan”. Tiyese Jeranji reports.
South Africa’s first National Tuberculosis Prevalence Survey found that many people without TB symptoms nevertheless have TB disease that can be detected using chest X-rays. Accordingly, new mobile X-ray screening programmes are being piloted in a number of provinces. Tiyese Jeranji reports.
Treating highly drug-resistant forms of tuberculosis can take anything from nine to 24 months and patients have to contend with various unpleasant, and sometimes dangerous, side effects. A new six-month regimen made up of just three drugs that will be offered to 400 patients in South Africa might offer a better solution for some. Tiyese Jeranji reports.