The Kenya Medical Research Institute (KEMRI) is working on harnessing technology in diagnosis, clinical trials and vaccine therapeutics.
KEMRI is conducting the research trials aimed at attaining better standards and lasting solutions in relation to combating TB, responsible for at least 6 per cent of all deaths in Kenya.
Dr Videlis Nduba, the MD and Center Director at the Respiratory Diseases Research, KEMRI Nairobi revealed in a press release of March 24, 2023 that they’re conducting vaccine research and TB prevention studies in Nairobi, Kisumu and other satellite stations across the country.
Dr. Nduba said the research involves 851 new-borns in Nairobi and 812 others in Siaya using the improved recombinant BCG alongside the traditional drug (BCG).
“We have been selected for phase 3 of the study trials with a view to vaccinating adolescents and adults”, he explained.
Dr. Nduba said the research has involved large groups drawn from 10 neighbourhoods and 10000 individuals adding that KEMRI is also conducting aneorobiological study which involved aerosol sampling.
“We do cough sense technology through artificial algorithm. This enable us differentiate TB from Pneumonia by way of collecting tons of immunological samples”, he added.
Through the RNA-sequencing and Immunological sequencing, he stated, to facilitate the measuring TB and Pneumonia through cough.
Dr. Nduba said the research has created an app on Samsung phone which those being tested cough into with the ability to find up to 90 per cent of the TB cases.
He stated that it was a great honour to be a part of the researchers working on this groundbreaking technology set to revolutionize the Health sector.
Dr. Jane Onyango, a Public Health Specialist at KEMRI said the research team spread across the country has been able to reduce TB treatment to 6 months down from 18 months.
Dr. Onyango confided that they have been working on drug sensitive and drug resistant TB while seeking a strategic, more reliable treatment.
“We remain focused on making diagnosis better and quicker at the point of care. This is a more sensitive test compared to the microscopic method”, she pointed out.
Dr. Onyango said there was urgent need to screen everyone who present with cough of any duration. “This is done by conducting chest Xray leading to Gene Xpert Testing”, she added.
TB is an infectious disease spread through droplets and this poses a major threat to public health worldwide.
The classic symptoms include; cough, hemoptysis, fatigue, weight loss, and night sweat though a typical presentation are common.
By Joseph Ouma