On the 5th and 6th of October, the StatinTB consortium, led by Prof Reto Guler of the University of Cape Town (UCT), convened for the StatinTB year four progress meeting in Cape Town, South Africa. This was the team’s first in-person meeting since the project kick-off in Namibia in January 2019. The meeting was organized by LINQ in close collaboration with the Project Coordinator, Prof Guler.
The first day of the meeting was dedicated to site visits. First, members of the consortium visited the PET/CT suite at the Cape University Body Imaging Centre (CUBIC), where Dr Tessa Kotze, Director of the PET/CT suite, welcomed the team and explained the process that patients and study participants go through when they come to the centre. Later in the day, the group visited the UCT Clinical Research Centre pharmacy, and Prof Guler’s laboratory at the UCT Institute of Infectious Disease and Molecular Medicine.
Finally, the team also visited the General Medicine & Global Health (GMGH) research clinic, where all StatinTB clinical trial-related procedures are carried out. The GMGH research unit was established by StatinTB Chief Principal Investigator Prof Friedrich Thienemann as a collaboration between the Department of Medicine of the University of Cape Town and the Department of Internal Medicine of the University Hospital Zurich and the University Zurich in 2019. Prof Thienemann is leading the centre together with Dr Sandra Mukasa, who is the StatinTB Local Principal Investigator.
All team members, especially those who are not located in Cape Town, appreciated the opportunity to see in person how the day-to-day work of their colleagues is carried out.
After the site visits, the group joined for status updates from all Work Package Leads on their team’s work during the last year. The programme also included talks by Dr Tessa Kotze and Dr Olukayode Aremu (both from UCT) presenting PET/CET and Cardiac MRI images from StatinTB study participants as well as a presentation of lipid-lowering and anti-inflammatory effects of high-intensity statins by Prof Dirk Blom (UCT) and an update on completed clinical studies relevant to StatinTB by Prof Robert J Wilkinson (Imperial College London).
Taking full advantage of the possibility of finally meeting in person again, the team ended the two-day meeting with a team dinner on the 6th of October.
LINQ manages StatinTB and provides broad support to the consortium. Our team works closely with the team at the University of Namibia (UNAM), who leads the StatinTB Capacity Development Work Package. In November this year, Dr Christoph Cyranski of LINQ spent a week in Windhoek, Namibia, conducting a SWOT analysis of the rapidly growing UNAM Group of Research in Infectious Diseases and liaised with the team of the recently established UNAM Grants Management Office. In collaboration with the team at UNAM, LINQ has also designed the StatinTB Learning Board, an online platform containing training material curated for young researchers in the consortium. The platform was released to the team in late November.
We look forward to meeting more of our international partners face-to-face again during the remainder of 2022 and beyond.