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COVID-19’s interaction with HIV and TB investigated
2 Jun 2020 - 10:00
CIDRI-Africa at the University of Cape Town (UCT) this week launched a programme of projects focussed on understanding and providing information on clinical presentation and pathogenesis of COVID-19 in the South African population.
COVID-19 is the disease caused by the newly emerged severe acute respiratory coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2).
The “health facility-based observational studies to investigate interaction and overlap between SARS-CoV-2, M. tuberculosis and HIV-1 infections” programme will take place at Groote Schuur Hospital and Site B Community Health Centre, Khayelitsha, in Cape Town and Livingstone Hospital in Port Elizabeth.
Principal Investigator Professor Robert J. Wilkinson, who is a Member of the Institute of Infectious Disease and Molecular Medicine as well as Director of CIDRI-Africa says, “It is important to understand not only COVID-19 infection itself but also its potential interaction with common endemic Infectious Diseases in South Africa, which are HIV-1 and tuberculosis.”
Known as the “HIATUS study”, researchers in the programme of four related projects will invite hospitalised COVID-19 patients to donate small extra samples of blood and cerebrospinal fluid during normal care procedures.
From these samples, the researchers hope to glean a wealth of information about the pathology of and immune response to SARS-CoV-2 in people both with and without HIV or tuberculosis (TB) co-infection.
According to the World Health Organization’s (WHO’s) Global tuberculosis report 2019South Africa carries about 3% of the global incidence of TB. A 2019 profile of South Africa developed by the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) stated that 20% of the HIV prevalence in the world occurs in South Africa.