General Medicine & Global Health (GMGH) was established in 2019 by Associate Professor Friedrich Thienemann. The mission of GMGH falls within HICRA to improve global health through research, education and health services in partnership with institutions in our communities in Africa.
Research focus: Infectious diseases and interaction with non-communicable diseases
Intervening along the spectrum of tuberculosis
HIV and cardiovascular disease
Tuberculosis and cardiovascular disease
Post-tuberculosis lung disease
Prof Friedrich Thienemann – Director/ Chief Principal Investigator
Dr Sandra Mukasa – Deputy Director/ Local Principal Investigator
Mycobacterium tuberculosis (Mtb) causes 1.8 million deaths annually.  Sub-Saharan Africa carries
the highest burden of tuberculosis (TB) [2, 3] with recurrent TB rates between 3-5% after treatment
completion accounting for 10–30% of all cases within some TB control programs.  Multiple risk
factors have been identified to cause recurrent diseases such as adherence to treatment, drug resistant
TB, HIV-infection, positive culture at 2 months of treatment, and extensive lung disease such
as cavitation. [5, 6] Recently, persistent pulmonary inflammation at the end of TB treatment and
ongoing paucibacillary Mtb replication has moved into the focus of TB research.
Protocol title: Preventing TB relapse and chronic lung disease: A proof-of-concept, double-blinded, randomized, placebo-controlled trial to evaluate the safety and efficacy of atorvastatin to reduce inflammation after TB treatment completion in HIV-infected and HIV-uninfected adults measured by FDG-PET/CT. (StatinTB)
The primary objective is to compare persistent lung inflammation measured by total lung glycolysis (TLG) on PET/CT after 12 weeks of 40 mg atorvastatin therapy and placebo. If successful this trial will have proven that statins as Host Directed Therapy (HDT) can be safe and effective adjunctive therapy to TB treatment in general and further efficacy trials can be undertaken to translate the results of this trial into reduced TB relapse rate and reduced post-TB chronic lung disease, thus decreased long-term TB-related morbidity.
2. Cox, H.S., et al., Epidemic levels of drug resistant tuberculosis (MDR and XDR-TB) in a high HIV
prevalence setting in Khayelitsha, South Africa. PLoS One, 2010. 5(11): p. e13901.
3. Johnson, R., et al., Drug-resistant tuberculosis epidemic in the Western Cape driven by a virulent
Beijing genotype strain. Int J Tuberc Lung Dis, 2010. 14(1): p. 119-21.
4. Chaisson, R.E. and G.J. Churchyard, Recurrent tuberculosis: relapse, reinfection, and HIV. 2010,
The University of Chicago Press.
5. Jo, K.-W., et al., Risk factors for 1-year relapse of pulmonary tuberculosis treated with a 6-month
daily regimen. Respiratory medicine, 2014. 108(4): p. 654-659.
6. Moodley, Y. and K. Govender, A systematic review of published literature describing factors
associated with tuberculosis recurrence in people living with HIV in Africa. African health
sciences, 2015. 15(4): p. 1239-1246.
Planned Research Project
Cardiovascular disease in patients completing TB treatment: cardiac MRI findings and the correction to persistent inflammation.
If you are interested in conducting a research study or clinical trial in the Cape Town area, please contact us for more information.
Tel: +27 (0)21 406 6358
Address: 4th, 5th & 6th Floor
Chris Barnard Building
Faculty of Health Sciences
University of Cape Town
Private Bag X3 7935
Observatory, South Africa