Making Plans for the Future at the Final ScreenTB Meeting

On 25 and 26 February, the final ScreenTB project meeting took place in Entebbe, Uganda, hosted by Makerere University. The goal of the project was to develop a point-of-care, hand-held, rapid screening test for tuberculosis (TB) that can be conducted on finger-prick blood in a laboratory-free manner. The consortium looks back on three successful years, in which they have developed a prototype 3-biomarker MBT assay for fresh finger-prick blood that is undergoing further refinement for implementation testing. In addition, the concept is further being developed into a treatment response test.

At the meeting, the PIs presented the overall results of each Work Package, and the group jointly reflected on the last incoming results to develop a publication strategy as well as a plan for the final five months of the project – and beyond.At the end of the first day, LINQ discussed reporting workflows and EDCTP financial regulations to prepare the group for the upcoming final report.

The second day included a visit to Mulago Hospital in Kampala, where many of the patients included in the study were recruited, as well as to the JCRC laboratories, where sample analysis was conducted.

Carefully designed capacity-building measures, which represent another important pillar of ScreenTB, have led to strong participation of previously underrepresented groups in Africa such as black women. The project’s mentoring programme has yielded lasting relationships between scientists at different stages of their careers and from different backgrounds that will last far beyond the end of the project and will hopefully lead to many fruitful collaborations in the future.