UCT medical students introduced to HIV-TB clinical research
8 May 2018 - 08:45
Twenty keen UCT undergraduate medical students attended the first Fogarty HIV-Associated Tuberculosis Training Program (HATTP) seminar on the 4th and 5th of May 2018. The seminar participants were introduced to basic clinical research concepts, including trial design and funding, as well as provided overviews on research topics such as HIV-associated tuberculosis (TB) disease presentations, drug resistant TB, TB treatments, the immunology of TB, and the ethics of clinical research. Two major aims of the seminar were to spark an interest in HIV-TB research among medical students and to introduce them to the varied pathways through which young researchers may enter this field.
Why research HIV-associated TB? South Africa has an exceptionally high burden of HIV, tuberculosis, and HIV-TB co-infection. An estimated 7 million people in South Africa are living with HIV, while the country also has one of the highest TB incidence rates in the world, approaching 1,000/100,000 people per annum, driven largely by the HIV epidemic. Over 50% of treated TB patients are HIV co-infected. The characteristics of the South African TB epidemic are continuously changing in response to factors which include the roll-out of antiretroviral therapy, the introduction of new drugs with novel drug-drug interactions and adverse drug reactions, and the emergence of drug resistance in both HIV and TB. HIV-TB co-infection research is a dynamic field of evolving challenges and questions.
"The answers we had 10 years ago do not answer the questions we have today"
—Prof. Graeme Meintjes
HATTP will meet this challenge by creating training opportunities for prospective HIV-TB researchers at UCT with the aim of developing the next generation of research leaders in this field. The medical students’ seminar is intended to introduce undergraduates to clinical research, provide insights into research opportunities, and create a network of future clinicians with research interests in HIV-TB. The 2018 seminar was chaired by Associate Professor Sipho Dlamini, Dr Jabulani Ncayiyana, Dr Phumla Sinxadi, Associate Professor Rannakoe Lehloenya, and Professor Graeme Meintjes.