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Associate Professor Helen Cox BSc MPH PhD (Melbourne)


Wellcome Trust Intermediate Fellow in Public Health and Tropical Medicine; Associate Professor, Medical Microbiology, University of Cape Town; Member of the Institute of Infectious Disease and Molecular (IDM), Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Cape Town; Winner of the 2015 Union Scientific Prize, International Union Against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease.

Helen Cox is an epidemiologist specialising in drug-resistant tuberculosis, with expertise in TB diagnostics and treatment. Specific research interests include: the molecular epidemiology of drug-resistant TB, models of care and optimising treatment regimens for drug-resistant TB, co-treatment of HIV with antiretroviral drugs, rapid diagnostics for tuberculosis drug resistance and developing sustainable interventions to improve TB infection control in health care facilities.

Current projects include:

  • A systems approach to evaluating prospects for the control of drug-resistant tuberculosis in Khayelitsha, South Africa.
  • Feasibility and impact of GeneXpert for TB and drug-resistant TB diagnosis.
  • Outcomes of decentralised programmatic management of drug-resistant TB in Khayelitsha.
  • Molecular epidemiology of drug-resistant TB in Central Asia and South Africa.
  • Linkage to care among patients diagnosed with rifampicin-resistant TB across South Africa.


Selected publications:

Cox H, Mizrahi V. The Coming of Age of Drug-Susceptibility Testing for Tuberculosis. N Engl J Med 2018.

Cox H, Hughes J, Black J, Nicol MP. Precision medicine for drug-resistant tuberculosis in high-burden countries: is individualised treatment desirable and feasible? Lancet Infect Dis 2018; 18(9): e282-e7.

Cox H, Dickson-Hall L, Jassat W, et al. Drug-resistant tuberculosis in South Africa: history, progress and opportunities for achieving universal access to diagnosis and treatment. South African Health Review 2017: 157-67.

Cox H, Dickson-Hall L, Ndjeka N, et al. Delays and loss to follow-up before treatment of drug-resistant tuberculosis following implementation of Xpert MTB/RIF in South Africa: A retrospective cohort study. PLoS Med 2017; 14(2): e1002238.

Cox HS, Furin JJ, Mitnick CD, Daniels C, Cox V, Goemaere E. The need to accelerate access to new drugs for multidrug-resistant tuberculosis. Bull World Health Organ 2015; 93(7): 491-7.

Cox H, Escombe R, McDermid C, et al. Wind-driven roof turbines: a novel way to improve ventilation for TB infection control in health facilities. PLoS One 2012; 7(1): e29589.

Cox HS, Sibilia K, Feuerriegel S, et al. Emergence of extensive drug resistance during treatment for multidrug-resistant tuberculosis. N Engl J Med 2008; 359(22): 2398-400.


Contact details:

Division of Medical Microbiology
Department of Pathology
Room 5.24, Falmouth Building
Institute of Infectious Disease and Molecular Medicine
UCT Faculty of Health Sciences
Observatory 7925
South Africa

Tel: +27 21 406 6378
Cell: +27 76 716 9702
Fax: +27 21 406 6068
Email: helen.cox@uct.ac.za

Alternate site:  www.medmicro.uct.ac.za



  • Molecular epidemiology of drug-resistant TB in Khayelitsha: Prof Robin Warren, Division of Molecular Biology and Human Genetics, Faculty of Health Sciences, Stellenbosch University, South Africa
  • Molecular epidemiology of drug-resistant TB in Khayelitsha: Prof Sebastien Gagneux, Department of Medical Parasitology and Infection Biology and the Tuberculosis Research Unit, Swiss Tropical and Public Health institute, Switzerland.
  • Molecular epidemiology of drug-resistant TB in Karakalpakstan, Uzbekistan: Prof Stefan Niemann, Molecular Mycobacteriology, Research Centre Borstel, Germany
  • Evaluation of decentralised drug-resistant care in Khayelitsha: Médecins Sans Frontières, South Africa
  • Optimising decentralised care for drug-resistant TB in South Africa: Prof Mark Nicol, Division of Medical Microbiology and Institute of Infectious Disease and Molecular Medicine, University of Cape Town