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.
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.
The Mpumalanga Health Department plans to repurpose three TB hospitals due to dwindling numbers of in-patients at these hospitals. The hospitals – Bongani TB Hospital, Standerton TB Hospital, and Barberton TB Hospital – will be used for other health services. Nthusang Lefafa asked the department what prompted this and what it means for the TB response in the province.
Falling ill with tuberculosis (TB) can be challenging for anyone, but it can be especially hard if you are pregnant or have just given birth. Globally, TB is amongst the top five causes of death in women of childbearing age. Tiyese Jeranji spoke to experts about the risks, challenges, and ongoing studies on maternal TB.
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.
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’s tuberculosis (TB) testing numbers have recovered from dramatic declines in 2020, delegates heard at the opening of the 7th South African TB Conference in Durban. The Department of Health also provided some details of its TB recovery plans and targets. Tiyese Jeranji reports from Durban.
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.
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.
South Africa’s new National Strategic Plan for HIV, TB, and STIs is being developed this year. Spotlight editor Marcus Low asks what we should aim for in the new strategy and how we should go about developing it.
To combat COVID-19, our country has been able to move millions of people through vaccination sites each month, creating a potential ‘one-stop shop’ for vital health check-ups. In this, healthcare workers have an unprecedented opportunity to reach people they may not otherwise have access to, such as those living with HIV, writes Dhirisha Naidoo.