Home > Research > General Medicine & Global Health

General Medicine & Global Health (GMGH)


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


Staff members

Prof Friedrich Thienemann – Director/ Chief Principal Investigator

Dr Sandra Mukasa – Deputy Director/ Local Principal Investigator

Dr Samy Hassan – Medical Officer and PET/CT reader

Dr Patrick Katoto –  Medical Officer and PET/CT reader

Ms Nosipho Mkuzangwe - Study Coordinator

Ms Siphokazi Khonkwane  - Clinical Research worker


Current Project


Mycobacterium tuberculosis (Mtb) causes 1.8 million deaths annually. [1] 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. [4] 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.

StatinTB Trial

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.


Website: www.statintb.com

HREC number: 675/2019

ClinicalTrials.gov number: NCT04147286


1. WHO, Global tuberculosis report 2016. Geneva: World Health Organization.


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.