UCT RESEARCH INNOVATION HIGHLIGHTS 2018-19 - Page 20



08
Pioneering ‘new science’
in Masiphumelele
UCT’s Desmond Tutu HIV Foundation Masiphumelele (DTHF)
research site is also home to the new Aerobiology TB
Research Facility. Officially launched on 20 February 2019,
it will focus on the study of the transmission of tuberculosis
(TB) organisms with a view to finding ways to halt the
spread of the disease.
The lab, known to the researchers as
the “Masi site”, is in a township where
20% of five-year-olds are infected with
TB before they start school. It serves
as a microcosm of the TB epidemic in
Cape Town.
Emeritus Professor Robin Wood,
chief executive officer of the DTHF
and director of the Desmond Tutu HIV
Centre (DTHC), an accredited research
centre within UCT’s Health Sciences
faculty, said at the launch that poor
socio-economic conditions are one of
the big drivers of TB transmission.
The researchers will study how TB is
transmitted through the air – via actions
such as breathing, talking and coughing
– and the role anti-TB therapy can play
in limiting the disease’s spread.
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