29 October 2009

SA doc wins HIV/TB research award

A South African doctor has won the Royal Society Award for HIV and TB co-infection research, the Desmond Tutu HIV Centre announced.


A South African doctor has won the Royal Society Award for HIV and TB co-infection research, the Desmond Tutu HIV Centre announced.

Dr Linda-Gail Bekker received the award in London for her work on the host response to TB, both with and in the absence of HIV co-infection, spokeswoman Lavinia Crawford-Browne said.

Bekker is deputy director of the Desmond Tutu HIV Centre at the University of Cape Town and CEO of the Desmond Tutu HIV Foundation. Her research looked at how TB epidemiology has changed in the HIV era.

Crawford-Browne said researchers estimate more than one in 10 South Africans over the ago of two was living with HIV in 2008. South Africa has seen a six-fold increase in TB rates in the last 20 years.

Research to continue in Cape Town
Bekker said the HIV/TB public health crisis required innovative thought and research to find novel answers and effective strategies to turn these numbers around.

The Royal Society Pfizer Award includes a R747 485 award grant which aims to encourage medical research in Africa by supporting young scientists.

The funding provided by this award would help with research being carried out at Nyanga Primary Health Clinic in Cape Town.

Bekker's team intended collecting positive TB cultures obtained from sputum samples in the clinic, to describe the diversity of TB strains among HIV-positive individuals receiving highly active antiretroviral treatment (Haart), HIV-positive individuals not receiving Haart and HIV-negative individuals.

It would also explore health care-associated transmission of TB in the clinic and test drug sensitivities of all cultures. – (Sapa, October 2009)

Read more:
SA making progress in TB fight
Economic crisis tough on HIV/TB


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