CIDRI-Africa welcomed Professor Keertan Dheda to the ranks of Contributing Investigators in the last quarter of 2020. Keertan is a Professor of Respiratory Medicine and heads the Division of Pulmonology and the Centre for Lung Infection and Immunity at the University of Cape Town; he brings expertise in respiratory infections and diagnostics to CIDRI-Africa.
Keertan specialises in clinical, transmission, genomic and epidemiological aspects of respiratory infections including tuberculosis (TB), and the development and validation of user-friendly point-of-care diagnostics. His group has published seminal papers on the aerosolization and transmission of TB, and the clinical impact of molecular and non-molecular diagnostic tools on important patient outcomes. His evidence-based approach—in contrast to traditional accuracy-based evaluation methodologies—applies randomised controlled trial design to the evaluation of new TB diagnostic tools to tease out impacts on morbidity and mortality.
He is currently Principal Investigator (PI) of “The Missing Millions: Identification and infectiousness of undiagnosed tuberculosis cases in the community (MiTB/CASSIII)”, and “A randomised controlled trial (RCT) to evaluate a scalable active case finding intervention for TB using a point-of-care molecular tool (XACTIII)”, and co-PI of “A lung-oriented controlled human infection model using live BCG to evaluate tuberculosis immunopathogenicity and vaccine efficacy (mCHIM)”. He directs the Centre for the Study of Antimicrobial Resistance (CAMRA) which is a South African Medical Research Council Extramural Research Unit.
Keertan serves on several national and international academic and advisory bodies and on the editorial boards of several journals including the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Medicine, and The Lancet Respiratory Diseases. He also holds Professorships at University College London and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, and is the immediate past president of the South African Thoracic Society. His work has shaped guidelines and policy both locally and internationally.