2 December 2015 Development of a biomarker test that predicts whether a person is at risk of developing TB.
Scientists at the University of Cape Town, in partnership with the Center for Infectious Disease Research in Seattle, have recently completed a decade-long project to develop a biomarker test that predicts whether a person is at risk of developing TB.
The prognostic blood test, which is based on the human immune response, can predict whether a person will develop TB more than 12 months in advance. South African investigators will now evaluate in a large clinical trial whether targeted preventive therapy for people with a positive biomarker test can stop them from developing TB. This international collaboration is led by the South African Tuberculosis Vaccine Initiative (SATVI) at the University of Cape Town, in partnership with the Aurum Institute, the Stellenbosch University Immunology Research Group, the Centre for the AIDS Programme of Research in South Africa (CAPRISA), the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, and the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center (FHCRC).
The clinical trial, funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, will start in 2016 and run for 2 years. If this trial is successful, mass campaigns using a ‘screen & treat’ strategy have potential for major impact on the global epidemic, by stopping TB before it becomes infectious and can be transmitted to others.
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