Latest transmission patterns for drug resistant TB pose a new challenge
The emergence of drug resistant tuberculosis has resulted in scientists taking a more aggressive and urgent approach to research into the development of the disease.
Read more The Conversation, 24 March 2017
Emerging epidemic of multidrug- resistant TB ‘threatens decades of progress’
The global fight to eradicate tuberculosis (TB) is at a critical crossroads, a new report warned today.
Read more Humanosphere, 23 March 2017
Rise of superbug tuberculosis hampers global control efforts
Rising rates of superbug tuberculosis (TB) are threatening to derail decades of progress against the contagious disease, experts said on Thursday, and new drugs powerful enough to treat them are few and far between.
Read more Reuters, 22 March 2017
Highly infectious strain of TB
Prof Dheda interviewed on The Koketso Sachane Show (26 February 2017, 11:50pm)
Download the m3 file 11MB
State hospitals discharging patients with incurable XDR TB
Prof Dheda interviewed on Cape Talk Radio (26 February 2017)
Download the m4a file 5.35MB
Shocking: Several TB strains now incurable, say local researchers
The rise of drug-resistant tuberculosis has taken a new, horrifying turn. According to scientists, as a result of patients not finishing their treatments for tuberculosis (TB), several strains of the disease have become not just drug-resistant, but incurable!
Read more health24, 7 February 2017
Incurable Tuberculosis being spread
eNCA- Channel 403 DSTV, 7 February 2017
DNA test uncovers hidden TB cases
Tuberculosis has killed more than a billion people over the last two centuries. A new UCT-led study had the myriad undiagnosed cases of the highly infectious disease in its crosshairs.
It’s estimated that 30–40% of TB cases globally are never diagnosed. Typically, TB tests happen only when prospective patients approach a clinic or hospital, which leaves many potential cases flying under the radar. This makes containing the spread of the highly infectious disease nigh impossible.
Read More UCT: Today's news, 9 February 2017
Read More Lancet, Infectious Diseases, 4 January 2017
Concern over sharp increase in drug-resistant TB cases in South Africa
CAPE TOWN – A University of Cape Town researcher says there's been a sharp increase in the number of drug-resistant Tuberculosis (TB) cases being reported.
Globally, one person dies of TB every three minutes.
An estimated 35,000 multidrug-resistant Tuberculosis cases were recorded in South Africa in 2014.
– Prof Dheda interviewed by EWN
Read More EWN, 6 February 2017
TB: New incurable strains
The rise of drug-resistant tuberculosis has taken a new, horrifying turn. While various strains of TB, with varying degrees of resistance to drugs, have wreaked havoc on South Africans, a new strain of TB has been found to be simply incurable.
These sobering findings were published in Lancet Respiratory Medicine by a UCT-led team of scholars, who tracked more than 237 patients with extensive drug-resistant TB (XDR-TB).
Read More UCT: Today's news, 30 January 2017
Address poverty, HIV to stem TB
The rise of incurable tuberculosis (TB) underscores the need to address poverty, overcrowding and the HIV epidemic in Africa, experts say.
Read more Cape Times, 30 January 2017
Fears over rise of incurable TB
URGENT action, including rapid diagnosis, better access to medication, improved home-based care and more community-stay facilities for patients, is crucial in addressing the rising transmission and infection rates of incurable TB.
Read more Pharmacy Choice, 30 January 2017
Read more Diamond Field Advertiser, 30 January 2017
New TB test could help curb disease
A recent landmark trial showed 53% more patients initiated therapy for tuberculosis (TB) after a new DNA-based diagnostic tool was used to screen for the disease in more that 2261 individuals.
Read more Cape Times, 26 January 2017
DNA sequencing used to track transmission of incurable TB in South Africa
Cape Town | TB researchers suggest that urgent action, including rapid diagnosis, wider access to newer and repurposed drugs, and bolstering home-based care and building long term community stay facilities for patients are pivotal in addressing the rising transmission and infection rates of incurable TB.
Read more SAMRC MEDIA, 23 January 2017
DNA-based detection test improves battle strategy against TB by finding undiagnosed cases in the community
Cape Town | A recent randomized controlled trial revealed that 53% more patients initiated therapy for tuberculosis (TB) after a new diagnostic tool (GeneXpert MTB/RIF) was used to screen for TB in more than 2 261 individuals in the community.
Read more SAMRC MEDIA, 20 January 2017
TB alert for young children
AN AUDIT conducted by the City shows that 42 percent of children exposed to TB patients have not been screened for the disease.
Read more Cape Times, 10 November 2016
UCT Study: Low-cost urine TB test reduces TB death-rate
A rapid, and simple to use, low-cost urine sample to test for TB at the bed-side of HIV patients both able and unable to produce sputum, reduced the TB death-rate of patients with advanced HIV. TB treatment can be initiated quicker than if diagnosed using current diagnostic tools
Urine test improves detection of TB
Tuberculosis often lies undetected in the very patients it is most likely to kill: HIV positive patients. But a urine test could change that.
Read more The Times, 27 January 2016
Six new UCT fellows announced
At a ceremony on Tuesday 13 October, UCT announced the names of six new fellows – permanent academic staff who are being recognised by UCT Council for distinguished academic work.
Read more UCT: Today's news, 16 October 2015
The rise of antibiotic resistance
Newsroom, 21 September 2015
Coughs: When to see a GP
YOU have a relentless, hacking cough that just won’t go away, but you don’t think it’s anything serious. It could be because of the change of season or the recent cold snap that gripped many parts of the country; you must have picked up a bug somewhere. This is what you tell yourself – but you start feeling a bit worried when weeks later you’re still coughing.
Download article You, 7 May 2015
Cape Town residents suffer smoke inhalation
CAPE TOWN - Not being able to breathe is a trauma many Cape Town residents have experienced in the last week. From regular shack fires to the recent fires which spread across the Cape Peninsula, it's a reality for many.
Read more Enca, 10 March 2015
MDR/XDR-TB Conference, 10 – 12 October 2014, UCT
Presentations for the conference are available for download.
Please visit www.xdrtbconference.co.za
Dying to Breathe
Carte Blanche, 7 September 2014, People with severe asthma often live a life of debilitating solitude and cannot enjoy the outdoor activities many take for granted. But an innovative new procedure called bronchial thermoplasty is set to change lives. [...Watch video]
Prof Keertan Dheda – Man with a mission
WHEN Keertan Dheda grew up in Durban’s Casbah suburb in the 1970s, dinner table conversations were dominated by the numerous doctors in his extended family. The son of a tailor and a housewife, he longed to join the ranks of the medical fraternity, driven by the noble idea of healing broken bodies.
Read more Business Day Live, 30 June 2014
Water Borne diseases and contaminated water in Bloemhof
No cure for some TB patients
There are patients who have incurable and infectious Tuberculosis who are being discharged from hospitals as they cannot be treated.
Read more Times Live, 11 June 2014
Prof Keertan Dheda receives the Oppenheimer Fellowship
UCT is delighted that one of its academics, Prof Keertan Dedha, is the 2014 recipient of the Oppenheimer Fellowship, the Oppenheimer Trust’s premier award with a monetary value of R1,5 million.
Read more UCT Faculty of Health Sciences, 3 June 2014
South Africa: The TB Time Bombs
"My life has stopped. I don’t want anyone to go through what I’m going through,” 36-year-old Kirt tells me through the facemask that holds back the microscopic droplets that escape from his mouth as he coughs and speaks.
Read more Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting, 2 June 2014
UCT forges ahead on TB research
UCT researchers have been nominated for BHP Billiton Awards for their work in the fight against tuberculosis, from using satellite tracking to identify "super spreaders", to proving that clinics can diagnose the disease within as little as two hours.
Download article Weekend Argus, 31 May 2014
Return of the ‘White Plague’: Fears over the rise of ‘incurable’ TB
"Sometimes I ask myself, why me? Why did this have to happen again?" says 31-year-old Andile from the Khayelitsha township in Cape Town, South Africa. "But the problem is I could have got it anywhere, on the bus, in a taxi, in my work. It's everywhere."
Read more CNN, 28 May 2014
UCT finalists compete for annual NSTF-BHP Billiton Awards
Eleven UCT researchers have been selected as finalists for the prestigious NSTF-BHP Billiton Awards for 2013/14. The national awards celebrate outstanding contributions to Science, Engineering, Technology and Innovation (SETI) in South Africa. With 11 out of a total of 56 finalists, this is an excellent showing for our academic community, says Prof Danie Visser, Deputy Vice-Chancellor for Research.
Read more UCT: Today's news, 21 May 2014
10% of adults currently suffering from asthma are unable to control it
Download article Netcare Health, Issue 1 2014
Superspreaders: Tracking tuberculosis
Tuberculosis (TB) is still a huge problem throughout the world. South Africa is particularly hard hit by the disease. It is one of only two countries where incidence of TB is still rising.
Read more BBC News Health, 27 March, 2014
New tech offers hope of tackling TB in South Africa
Face masks incorporating satellite tracking and cough samplers are among the new technologies being tested to help researchers in South Africa try to control the epidemic of drug-resistant tuberculosis.
Read more Sci Dev Net, 22 March, 2014
Patients with deadly TB released in South Africa
Long-term outcomes of patients with extensively drug-resistant tuberculosis in South Africa: a cohort study
Long-term treatment-related outcomes in patients with extensively drug-resistant (XDR) tuberculosis are unknown. We followed up a cohort of patients to address knowledge gaps.
Download article The Lancet, 17 January, 2014
Download press release UCT press release
Download press release The Lancet press release
SA grapples to mitigate drug-resistant TB – study
LONDON - Patients with contagious and highly drug-resistant tuberculosis (TB) are being routinely discharged from hospitals across South Africa, exposing others in their communities to potentially deadly infections, researchers said on Friday.
Read more eNCA, 17 January 2014
TB patient treatment
Patients with incurable and highly infectious tuberculosis (TB) were being routinely discharged from hospital to die at home, putting friends, family and people in tehir community at risk of catching teh disease, according to a South African study published in science magazine th Lancet today.
Download article Business Day, 17 January 2014
Do high rates of empirical treatment undermine the potential effect of new diagnostic tests for tuberculosis in high-burden settings?
In tuberculosis-endemic settings, patients are often treated empirically, meaning that they are placed on treatment based on clinical symptoms or tests that do not provide a microbiological diagnosis (eg, chest radiography).
Download article The Lancet, 15 January 2014
Tackling drug-resistant TB in London
Health experts are trying to tackle an increase in a highly infectious drug-resistant form of TB which could leave London on the cusp of a TB epidemic. Scientists have uncovered mutations of the bacteria that are rapidly becoming resistant to all known antibiotics and medications.
Read more BBC News, 6 January 2014
Unit wins prestigious MRC award
In his address to MRC award and grant winners at a prestigious ceremony in Cape Town, outgoing MRC Chairperson Professor Lizo Mazwai described the South African Medical Research Council (MRC) as “richer, more focused, more efficient and better placed to deliver a healthy nation through research.”
Download article Medical Research Council of South Africa
Faster TB test fails to improve prognosis
PARIS - An on-the-spot sputum test for tuberculosis works better than the commonly-used, 125-year-old microscope method, but did not reduce illness in a southern African trial, a study reported on Monday.
Read more eNCA, 28 October
Sputum Test May not Hold Key to TB Eradication
An on-the-spot sputum test for tuberculosis works better than the commonly-used, 125-year-old microscope method, but did not reduce illness in a southern African trial, a study said Monday.
Read more The Nation, 29 October 2013
Read more naharnet, 28 October 2013
Read more menafn.com, 28 October 2013
Read more Enca, 28 October 2013
Download article Feasibility, accuracy, and clinical effect of point-of-care Xpert MTB/RIF testing for tuberculosis in primary-care settings in Africa: a multicentre, randomised, controlled trial The Lancet, 28 October 2013
Download article Point-of-care diagnostics for tuberculosis elimination? The Lancet, 28 October 2013
Point-of-Care Xpert MTB/RIF Testing Feasible in Primary Care
Point-of-care Xpert MTB/RIF tuberculosis testing is associated with more patients getting same-day diagnosis and having same-day treatment initiation but does not result in improved tuberculosis-related morbidity, according to a study published online Oct. 28 in The Lancet.
Read more Doctors Lounge, 28 October 2013
Mandela’s condition ‘very serious’
A man sells goods on June 11, 2013 on the streets of Johannesburg in front of a newspaper billboard reading "Don't let Madiba go - Qunu villagers." Nelson Mandela remained another day in hospital with no reports of any improvement in his condition which South African President Jacob Zuma described as "very serious" but "stabilised."
Read more Bangkok Post, 12 June 2013
New asthma treatment
The new technology, which was unveiled at Groote Schuur Hospital for teh first time in Africa yesterday, is a minimal brochoscopic procedure that heats the wall of teh airways ina controlled manner opening them up.
Download article Cape Argus, 26 April 2013
TB-NEAT: TB diagnostics in low-resource settings
Watch this informative video as uploaded to YouTube by EDCTP.
SA pays high price for drug resistant TB
According to a study a case of extensively drug resistant tuberculosis (TB) costs South Africa about $26 392 (R234 516.67) to treat, which is four times that of drug resistant TB, which costs $6 772, and a 103 times more than drug sensitive TB, which costs $257.
Read more Times LIVE, 19 January 2013
New divisional heads appointed
Three new top appointments at UCT's Department of Medicine – all black staff – are proof that the university is well on its way to becoming "a home for all South Africans"...
Unit wins more awards at latest Thoracic Society meeting
The run of good fortune has continued as the Lung Infection and Immunity Unit made a clean sweep of the original research awards at the combined national South African Thoracic and Critical Care societies meeting in Sun City on the 28th of August 2012.
Unit scoops three awards
Three young rising stars from the UCT Lung Infection and Immunity unit, headed by Professor Keertan Dheda, are the recipients of three prestigious awards. All three awards recognise completed or proposed research in the ongoing fight against TB.
Well done, Richard!
The Lung Infection and Immunity Unit would like to express its heartfelt congratulations and joy at the recent graduation of PhD student Dr. Richard van Zyl-Smit who successfully obtained his degree. Richard is a pulmonologist who conducted studies about the TB-specific host immune responses in the lung and how they are modulated by tobacco smoke.
Unit head nominated for 2012 NSTF-BHP Billiton award
A host of UC scholars and units have been nominated for the 2011/12 National Science and Technology Forum-BHP Billiton awards. This year, the NSTF celebrates its 14th Awards, which recognise, acknoledge and promote excellence in the South African research and development community.
Download article Monday Paper, 21 May – 3 June 2012
The 2011 Sixth EDCTP Forum
The 2011 Sixth EDCTP Forum was held in Addis Ababa and was attended by Professor Keertan Dheda and Dr. Grant Theron from the Unit. Several important activities and discussions at the Forum focused on scientific development and capacity development in Africa (see interview with Keertan). The Forum Report and the Forum Video can be viewed at the following links. 9–12 October 2011
Leading from the front
Three UCT research facilities have been named as centres of excellence by the African Network for Drugs and Diagnostics Innovation.
Download article Monday Paper
Professor Segal, Director at the Centre for Molecular Medicine in London, visited the unit in January 2012
From left: Professor Dheda, head of the Lung Infection and Immunity Unit,
Dr Grant Theron, Prof Anthony Segal, Dr Anke Binder, Dr Jonny Peter,
Lameze Fredericks, Anil Pooran, Malika Davids
Lung Infection and Immunity Unit project
In a project led by Professor Keertan Dheda, a prototype TB test strip was successfully demonstrated and there are plans to further develop the intellectual property. Prototype development is nearing completion and a spin-off company, Antrum Biotechnologies (Pty) Ltd, has successfully attracted funding from the Department of Trade and Industry’s SPII to pursue the next stage. More significant funding is also being raised to take the product to market.
Student piques interest with her TB findings
Malika Davids, a doctoral student in UCT's Lung Infection and Immunity Unit in the Department of Medicine, certainly had her fellow delegates sitting up and taking notice of her poster presentation at the recent World Immune Regulation Meeting V in Davos, Switzerland.
Read more UCT: Today's news, 8 June 2011
Sports achievement for Lung Unit member
Russell Mains, a member of the Lung Unit, and his team won second place in the Elite section at the SA National Darts Championship held at Kibler Park in Gauteng in July 2011. We congratulate Russell and his team for their fine achievement in this highly competitive category.
Nuwe masjiene kan MDR-TB gou raaksien (New MDR-TB diagnostic tool)
Splinternuwe masjiene wat vir die eerste keer middelweerstandige tuberkulose (MDR-TB) in staatshospitale kan diagnoseer,isdeurdiedepartementvangesondheid aangekoop.
Download article Die Burger, 15 April 2011
Global TB research body honours UCT professor
Dr Keertan Dheda, Associate Professor of Respiratory Medicine at the University of Cape Town, is the recipient of the 2010 Union Scientific Award, bestowed by the International Union Against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease (IUATLD). The annual global award honours a researcher under the age of 45 who has made an outstanding contribution to the field of tuberculosis and/or lung disease.
Dr Dheda’s research focuses mainly on poverty-related lung disease, including TB, HIV and pneumonia. The IUATLD said in its citation for Dr Dheda: “He is particularly recognised for his expertise on drug-resistant TB and is considered one of the experts in South Africa on TB drug-resistance, providing frequent advice and consultation nationally on drug-resistant cases … Of particular note, Dr Dheda has co-developed a programme offering training and clinical services related to drug-resistant TB at the two designated XDR-TB hospitals in the Northern and Western Cape Provinces of South Africa … His work has influenced decisions or recommendations made by the South African National TB Programme and other leading international TB and health organisations. He is internationally recognised for his work in TB diagnostics, TB immunology and drug-resistant TB, and holds a patent related to new diagnostic technologies for which he has received a grant from the South African Department of Science and Technology to develop further.”
Dr Dheda is Associate Professor of Respiratory Medicine and Director of the Lung Infection and Immunity Unit in the Department of Medicine at UCT. He also holds a faculty position at the Centre for Infectious Diseases and International Health at University College London, as part of the UCL-UCT Diseases of Poverty Collaboration Initiative, which aims to facilitate the training of African post-graduate students to improve global health.
The mission of the IUATLD is to bring innovation, expertise, solutions and support to address health challenges in low- and middle-income populations. Its scientific departments focus on tuberculosis, HIV, lung health and non-communication diseases, tobacco control and research
Watch the movie: Opening of the World Conference
Xpert TB diagnostic highlights gap in point-of-care pipeline
Recent unprecedented efforts have led to an expanded tuberculosis diagnostic pipeline, and, in September, publication of the performance of Xpert MTB/RIF in a large multicentre trial was heralded as representing a new era in tuberculosis diagnostics.
Download article The Lancet, November 2010
SA Health Workers Getting Deadly TB
UCT researchers have shown that health workers in South Africa are contracting extensively drug-resistent tuberculosis (XDR-TB), the most serious form of the disease that is extremely difficult to treat.
Download article Cape Times, 21 September 2010
TB workshop commentary
The controversial question of whether or not to incarcerate patients with drug-resistant tuberculosis came under the spotlight at a workshop held at the Faculty of Health Sciences from 3 to 5 September.
Download article Monday Paper, 13-26 September 2010
Keertan Dheda serves on American Thoracic Society MTPI committee 2009-2010
Left to right. BACK ROW: Ed Chan, Stephen Gordon, Keertan Dheda, Charles Feldman, Mark Metersky;
FRONT ROW: Sam Moskowitz, Adithya Cattamanchi, Carol Hamilton, Marcos Restropo, Scott Evans, Adrian Rendon
Dr Richard van Zyl-Smit
Multidrug-resistant and extensively drug-resistant tuberculosis: a threat to global control of tuberculosis.
Early treatment outcomes and HIV status of patients with extensively drug-resistant tuberculosis in South Africa: a retrospective cohort study.
Data from Kwazulu Natal, South Africa, suggest that almost all patients with extensively drug-resistant (XDR) tuberculosis are HIV-positive, with a fatal outcome. Since, there are few data for the treatment-related outcomes of XDR tuberculosis in settings with a high HIV prevalence, we investigated the associations of these diseases in such settings to formulate recommendations for control programmes.
Read more The Lancet, May 2010
XDR tuberculosis in South Africa: old questions, new answers
In The Lancet today, Keertan Dheda and co-authors present an interesting report about early treatment outcomes of extensively drug-resistant (XDR) tuberculosis (resistant to isoniazid, rifampicin, any fluoroquinolone, and at least one injectable drug: capreomycin, kanamycin, or amikacin) in South Africa.
Read more The Lancet, 19 May 2010
TB hits health workers
TB is the most common serious opportunistic infection that HIV-positive South Africans contract. TB patients who are tested for HIV can be put on antiretroviral treatment earlier, which can prevent further opportunistic infections and even death.
“If you don’t treat the HIV you don’t treat the underlying cause, and the patient could get another episode of TB or another infection later on,” Dheda says.
Download article Mail & Guardian, May 2010
World TB Day 2010
The Lung Infection and Immunity Unit of the University of Cape Town would like to join with the rest of the world in commemorating World TB day today, Wednesday the 24th of March, 2010. The Unit would like to take the opportunity to re-affirm its commitment to improving heath care through research, continued development of diagnostic techniques and dedicated patient care. We are also pleased to announce the publication 'Clinical utility of a commercial LAM-ELISA assay for TB diagnosis in HIV-infected patients using urine and sputum samples', published in PLoS ONE today.
Download article PLoS ON, March 2010
Download article Bulletin of UK TB Research, 2010
Download article World TB Day 2010: Eradicating tuberculosis in sub-Saharan Africa needs effective and committed north-south partnerships SAMJ, March 2010
Download article World TB Day 2010 – New innovations are required for enhancing the global fight against Tuberculosis: the ‘Captain of all these men of death’ Tropical Medicine and International Health, March 2010
Kiss of Life for lung-infection research
Thanks to their new Discovery Foundation Academic Fellowships, Dr Hoosain Khalfey and Dr Greg Symons have the funding to continue their potentially ground-breaking studies of lung infections over the next two years.
Doctor raises questions over TB skin testing
Skin testing for tuberculosis, teh current method used in South Africa as well as in the UK and Canada is being questioned by a top UCT academic.
Download article Argus, 23 October 2009
Success in triplicate for TB researchers
Three specialists at UCT’s Lung Infection and Immunity Unit have won substantial US fellowships for their doctoral studies on tuberculosis.
Download article Monday Paper, 26 October - 8 November 2009
Researcher puts TB screening to the test
New findings by UCT’s Dr Richard van Zyl-Smit could up-end some widely-held tenets of tuberculosis testing. Based at the Lung Infection and Immunity Unit, Van Zyl-Smit, 36, argues for a new TB-testing regime in a paper published in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine, aka the Blue Journal.
Download article Monday Paper, 26 October - 8 November 2009