Trio of tuberculosis researchers honoured

12 December 2012

Three rising stars from UCT's Lung Infection and Immunity Unit have won separate awards and fellowships in recognition of their TB research.

Dr Ureshnie Govender, a postdoctoral fellow, received the Canadian Grand Challenges Rising Stars in Global Health award; Dr Jonny Peter, a clinician scientist, has been awarded the 2012/13 Oxford Nuffield Medical Fellowship; and Dr Grant Theron, another post-doctoral fellow, has been honoured with this year's Health Sciences Faculty Best Publication Award.

Govender's award will promote the integration of research and innovation in meeting the need to better health services.

For his PhD thesis, Peter is working on Novel Diagnostic Approaches for Smear-negative and Sputum-scarce TB in South Africa. It includes the first clinical evaluation of a novel urinary point-of-care LAM strip test among hospitalised HIV-infected patients.

Theron was recognised for a manuscript published in Clinical Infectious Diseases, titled, The Use of an Automated Quantitative Polymerase Chain Reaction (Xpert MTB/RIF) to Predict the Sputum Smear Status of Tuberculosis Patients.

In countries adopting Xpert, patients are diagnosed without having had their sputum examined by microscopy. Theron's work showed that, based on the Xpert result, it is possible to predict if a patient would have been smear-positive, thereby allowing them to receive more appropriate care.

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