Tuberculosis (TB) is a major global health problem and the biggest historical killer of mankind. It has caused almost a billion deaths in the last 2 centuries and killed more people historically that all the wars (ever fought) combined. It is far from eradicated, causes ill-health amongst millions of people each year, and is now the leading infectious cause of death worldwide. In 2017, there were an estimated 10 million TB cases globally: 5.8 million among men, 3.2 million among women, and 1.0 million among children. There were also 1.6 million TB deaths (1.3 million among HIV-uninfected people and 0.3 million among HIV-infected people). The number of TB deaths is unacceptably high given that the disease is curable. TB together with HIV and pneumonia features on the WHO top 10 killer diseases list.
Keertan Dheda is Professor of Respiratory Medicine, and Head of the Division of Pulmonology at the University of Cape Town. His research work focuses on the epidemiology, diagnosis, transmission, and treatment of TB. He is a National Research Foundation A-rated scientist (H index = 63 as at December 2018) and has published over 250 peer-reviewed papers including 4 first or senior author original publications in The Lancet. He has been the recipient of several prestigious awards including the International Union Against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease Scientific Award and the Oppenheimer Award. He serves on the editorial board of several journals including the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Medicine, and Lancet Respiratory Diseases amongst others. He holds 5 patents related to new TB control technologies. He serves on several national and international academic and advisory bodies and is the current president of the South African Thoracic Society.
Dr Te Riele (Family Physician at Brooklyn Chest Hospital and Clinical Manager, Metro TB Hospital Complex, University of Cape Town) has extensive experience in managing complex TB cases. His research work highlighted the relationship between radiological disease extent and outcomes in drug resistant TB. He serves on several advisory committees including the South African DR-TB Guideline committee.
Ms Fawziyah Thompson is a TB advocate and research scientist currently working on several aspects of TB including the development of a controlled human infection model for TB that will facilitate vaccine development.