Current treatments for tuberculosis (TB) use a one-size-fits-all approach and usually last for at least six months. Shortening the standard treatment of TB could help reduce drug resistance and disease burden in developing countries.

Previous attempts to shorten treatment duration, usually to four months, have been unsuccessful when compared with six-month treatments. While six-month courses cure 95% of patients, shorter courses only cure 80-85%. If scientists were able to identify the patients who only require four-month therapy before starting treatment, treatment duration could be reduced in most patients, even with present drugs.

PredictTB enrolled close to 700 patients with drug-sensitive pulmonary TB in a clinical trial aimed at validating candidate biomarkers as well as identifying and evaluating new, improved criteria that can identify patients who can be cured with shorter treatment.

The PredictTB funding period ran from February 2017 to July 2022.


Using Biomarkers to Predict TB Treatment Duration


EDCTP, BMGF, NIH, Grand Challenges China, ICIDR, RePORT South Africa


1 February 2017 – 31 July 2022 (66 months)

Total Funding

7.722.491 EUR


Prof Gerhard Walzl, Stellenbosch University, South Africa (EDCTP) and Dr Clifton Barry, III, PhD, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, US (BMGF & NIH)


17 partners from Africa, Europe, North America, and China.

How LINQ Supports PredictTB

  • . Project Management 
  • . Dissemination & Communication
  • . Capacity Building

Coordinating project partners across three continents

PredictTB is a large-scale clinical study that receives both international and national as well as public and private funding from Europe, South Africa, China, and the US. LINQ is managing the European funding by the EDCTP, headed by our long-time collaborator Prof. Gerhard Walzl, and leads the Project Management Work Package.

Working across funders adds a layer of complexity to LINQ’s work as we help coordinate funders on three continents and navigate their very varied rules and requirements. One way in which LINQ has ensured efficient work across all partner institutions is by supporting the process of setting up a consortium-wide research collaboration agreement, together with the FNIH, our US American counterpart. This allows all scientists working in this project to safely exchange materials and information.


Navigating through the COVID-19 outbreak

When everything was set up properly and the project was running smoothly, the COVID-19 crisis in 2020 severely affected the clinical studies in both South Africa and China, as recruitment was halted for several months. PredictTB was able to continue treatment of enrolled patients during the lockdown while adhering to the highest safety standards and government regulations. LINQ has played a pivotal role in helping the consortium navigate through the challenges imposed by the pandemic by initiating a structured dialogue between the different South African clinical sites to assess individual requirements for Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and by supporting the integration of COVID-19 testing for PredictTB patients. 

Furthermore, when the annual in-person meeting needed to be cancelled on short notice, LINQ worked together with the FNIH to swiftly arrange a successful virtual meeting.

COVID-19 outbreak

Empowering the next generation of TB experts

Capacity building was a core element of PredictTB. LINQ collaborated closely with the Capacity Building Work Package Leads, Novel Chegou and Fanie Malherbe from Stellenbosch University. Beyond supporting the setup and management of PredictTB’s mentorship programme and several other online and in-person training opportunities for master and PhD students, LINQ has also designed and developed the PredictTB Learning Board. Launched in early 2022, the online platform contains curated material for career and skill development.

The PredictTB Learning Board has been designed to be integrated into ongoing mentor-mentee activities as well as support self-learning, thereby facilitating capacity building also in times when in-person meetings are less frequent or not possible at all. The platform captures knowledge produced and collected during PredictTB’s funding period and ensures that lessons learned remain accessible to the consortium for years to come.

You can learn more about LINQ’s work with the PredictTB Learning Board and how it helps prolong the project's impact here

“PredictTB is a highly complex initiative involving several different funders and a large number of participants all around the globe. Navigating this multi-faceted environment and integrating numerous stakeholders in an efficient way is a challenge that LINQ has mastered expertly.” Prof Gerhard Walzl,
Stellenbosch University
Prof Gerhard Walzl,  Stellenbosch University