CUT-TB is made up of a consortium of 3 implementing and 3 technical support partners. The implementing partners are The Aurum Institute in South Africa, JHPEIGO in Lesotho and NIMR in Tanzania. Technical support partners are the University College London, Karolinska University and DZIF-Borstel Research Center.
Located in South Africa, will co-ordinate the project overall and will implement the project in Ekurhuleni district, Gauteng province and possibly West Coast district, Western Cape province, or Ugu district, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. The Aurum Institute (AURUM) is a public-benefit, scientific South African organization active in the fields of TB and HIV/AIDS. This institute is a leader in HIV and TB research in South Africa and is known for large community-wide epidemiological studies. Examples of such projects include large cluster randomized trials evaluating the impact of community-wide TB preventive therapy among mine workers and the impact and cost-effectiveness of XPERT MTB/Rif in the routine rollout in South Africa, implementing an optimized model for scaling up TB/HIV integration at primary care clinics in a sub-district in South Africa. A landmark study which was conducted by Professor G. Churchyard (Project Coordinator) used a retrospective cohort design to examine impact of TB on pulmonary function in employed South African gold miners over a period of 5 years. Aurum has been working for over 20 years in HIV and TB and has a track record and existing relationships with the Department of Health (DoH) at all levels from National to the clinic-level as well as the communities itself.
Prof Charalambous is the Principal Investigator (PI) and will lead and oversee the project. She is a physician and PhD Epidemiologist and has led many implementation research projects, including large multi-site and multidisciplinary cluster randomised trials in TB and HIV. She is the African co-ordinator of the TB-Sequel project, which includes eight institutions, including those in four African countries, including Tanzania, Mozambique, South Africa, and The Gambia. In South Africa, Prof Charalambous heads the Secretariat of the TB Think Tank, made up of over 120 individuals from different institutions.
Prof Gavin Churchyard is a specialist physician, internationally renowned for his contributions in tuberculosis (TB). He is the founder and CEO of The Aurum Institute. He is an Honorary Professor at the University of Witwatersrand, School of Public Health and an Honorary Professor at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical medicine. He is the Chair of the WHO/TDR Disease Reference Group for TB, Leprosy and Buruli Ulcer (2009-2012) and a member of the WHO Stop TB Research movement, both of which set global research priorities for TB. He is also the Chair of the WHO Task Force for developing policy for new TB drugs, a member of the WHO Strategic Technical Advisory Group for TB that advises WHO on policy for TB, a member of the WHO expert committees for TB preventive therapy and TB screening and a member of the WHO Working Groups for TB/HIV, MDR-TB, and infection control. He is the co-Chair of the NIH HIV Vaccine Trials Network-TB vaccine working group, Vice Chair of the AIDS Clinical Trials Group Transformative Science Group for TB, Co-Chair of a Fogarty Global Infectious Disease training grant for MDR-TB. He is the principal investigator on a number of TB trials being conducted in South Africa. He has contributed to industry, national and international guidelines for TB and HIV, and has published widely in the areas of TB and HIV treatment and prevention.
Dr Velen completed his PhD on TB contact tracing in 2018 and is currently doing a post-doc at the University of Sydney. Dr Velen has contributed substantially to this proposal and is expected to return to South Africa in April 2021 and will be the overall programme manager of the project.
NIMR-Mbeya Medical Research Centre (NIMR-MMRC), Tanzania is both a basic research centre with advanced immunology and molecular biology facilities, and a trial site with state-of-the art TB and safety laboratory. It conducts GCP-compliant TB drug and diagnostic trials including REMox and MAMS, basic research programmes on biomarkers as well as several trials on new diagnostics and interventions in the health system. MMRC has experience from multiple population-based cohort studies, enrolling and following-up 20.000 individuals over 5 years.
NIMR-MMRC will implement the project in the Mbeya and Songwe districts in Tanzania. NIMR-Mbeya have an on-going collaboration with Aurum in the TB Sequel project, a prospective multi-country cohort study to measure determinants of poor TB and lung outcomes40. NIMR-Mbeya works with national and regional health authorities and is conducting >15 HIV and TB studies currently.
Dr Elias is the Director of NIMR Mbeya centre and will take responsibility for the trial implementation in Tanzania. He has over 10 years of experience of managing clinical trials, diagnostic and operational studies at institutional and national level.
Dr Sabi has worked on several TB and HIV research projects (STAND TB clinical trial, and Reach4Kids Africa diagnostic studies) and will support the Mbeya site operations.
Jhpiego will implement in Thaba-Tseka and Butha-Buthe districts in Lesotho.
Jhpiego has supported primary health care services including TB and HIV integration since 2008 and have established a large TB contact tracing programme in Lesotho with GFATM funding.
Ms Stender will lead the project in Lesotho as she has led program design, implementation, and evaluations in Lesotho over the past 12 years.
Dr Chakare is a public health expert with 15 years’ experience providing HIV and TB clinical services and technical assistance across Southern Africa
DZIF-Borstel Research Center (FZB) will coordinate the microbiological aspects of the project.
DZIF-Borstel Research Center (FZB) hosts the German National Reference Center for Mycobacteria which is one of the leading diagnostic centers worldwide and one of the 26 WHO Supranational Reference Laboratories.
FZB coordinates several national and international activities in basic and applied fields of TB research. Several studies on host-pathogen interaction, molecular epidemiology, resistance mechanisms, genomic diversity of clinical MTBC isolates have been conducted.
A special recent focus is the application of next generation sequencing genome analysis (NG-WGS) for resistance prediction and tracing of outbreak strains.
Prof Niemann is a specialist in genomic characterization of clinical strains and will lead the Microbiology work package
Karolinska Institute will coordinate the economics and modelling components of the project. The Department of Global Public Health has long-standing experiences of conducting large international research projects and an excellent infrastructure for training, management, and communication.
As part of Karolinska Institute, ranked number 6 on the Shanghai global university ranking of Public Health as an academic subject in 2019, the department conducts high-quality research, teaching and applied public health.
Prof Lönnroth is a professor of Social Medicine and Director of both the Centre for Tuberculosis Research at KI and the WHO Collaboration Centre on TB and Social Determinants.
He has conducted extensive epidemiological, health systems, health economics and social science research during the past 25 years, with a main focus on tuberculosis.
He has worked for the Global Tuberculosis Programme of WHO for 14 years, where he coordinated several guidelines, including on TB screening, contact investigation, and use of chest Xray for TB detection. Dr Shedrawy has a Master of Health Economics and Policy (KI). In 2020 he is defending his PhD thesis on the cost-effectiveness of LTBI screening among migrants in Sweden.
As part of the PhD, he has conducted studies on health-related quality of life, cascade of care, and qualitative studies on patients´ perspectives. He has developed and applied economics models for cost-effectiveness analyses of both LTBI screening and vaccination of Tick Born Encephalitis.
Prof Knut Lönnroth is an acknowledged expert in the field of socioeconomics of TB. Prof Lönnroth will be responsible for designing the economic evaluation and collection of patient cost data.
University College London (UCL) will be responsible for technical support to the trial and statistical oversight. UCL Institute for Global Health (IGH) is the thriving research and teaching community at the heart of UCL’s Grand Challenge of Global Health (http://www.ucl.ac.uk/global-health). In addition, drawing on the expertise of over 200 staff from across UCL’s departments, IGH take a unique cross-disciplinary approach to global health in both their research and teaching, with the understanding that health is influenced by the social environment, as well as medical innovation.
Dr Molebogeng Rangaka is a Clinical Associate Professor at the Institute for Global Health and Medical Research Council Clinical Trials unit. She has expertise in leading clinical trials of TB diagnostics and prevention in vulnerable at-risk populations. She led a landmark trial on the prevention of HIV-associated TB in South Africa. (6) Dr. Yohhei Hamada is a physician and a member of the WHO LTBI Taskforce. He is experienced in guideline development at global and national levels as well as providing technical assistance to countries for implementing programmatic management of LTBI.
Dr. Andrew Copus is a trial statistician and the Director of the Centre for Pragmatic Global Health Trials, Institute for Global Health. He has an extensive experience in conducting pragmatic trials including cluster randomized trials.
Dr Molebogeng Rangaka is a Clinical Associate Professor at the Institute for Global Health and Medical Research Council Clinical Trials unit. She has expertise in leading clinical trials of TB diagnostics and prevention in vulnerable at-risk populations. She led a landmark trial on the prevention of HIV-associated TB in South Africa.
Dr. Yohhei Hamada is a physician and a member of the WHO LTBI Taskforce. He is experienced in guideline development at global and national levels as well as providing technical assistance to countries for implementing programmatic management of LTBI.
Andrew Copus is a trial statistician and the Director of the Centre for Pragmatic Global Health Trials, Institute for Global Health. He has an extensive experience in conducting pragmatic trials including cluster randomized trials.