Community-based testing boosts diagnosis of infectious TB, study finds

Every year, tens of thousands of people who fall ill with tuberculosis in South Africa are not diagnosed. Because of this, there has been much focus on testing people earlier rather than waiting for them to show up at clinics when they are already sick. One potential solution, explored in a trial called XACT 2, is community-based testing using a point-of-care molecular test. Tiyese Jeranji spoke to experts involved with XACT 2 and unpacks the study’s findings that were recently published in Nature Medicine.

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Opinion: Yes! We can end TB in South Africa

While there is a long way to go, there has been important progress in South Africa’s response to tuberculosis (TB) and 2023 is set up to be a watershed year for the fight against the disease both globally and in South Africa. As we commemorate World TB Day, let us all pledge to make this year’s theme a reality – “Yes! You and I can end TB”, write Gaurang Tanna and Yogan Pillay.

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In-depth: New resistance tests set to improve TB treatment

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.

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INTERVIEW: Prof Wendy Stevens on following the science, even if it means swimming against the stream

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.

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From Cameroonian village to Stellenbosch Professor – top TB researcher reflects on a remarkable journey

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.

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Positive signs for new TB testing strategy

Under a new tuberculosis (TB) diagnosis strategy, people considered to be at high risk of TB are offered molecular TB tests, even if they do not have any symptoms. A landmark study in 2020 showed that such a strategy can help diagnose more people more quickly. Now, early indications are that it also works in the real world and South Africa’s lab service says they can cope with the increased demand. Tiyese Jeranji reports.

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Are oral swabs the future of TB testing?

The World Health Organization estimates that every year 40% of people who fall ill with TB globally are not diagnosed. There is thus an urgent need for faster, safe, and more convenient TB tests. The current gold standard for testing still requires people to cough up sputum, something that some people and children, in particular, struggle with. Tiyese Jeranji looks at the potential of a new experimental oral swab TB test.

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