The Capacity of African Research Institutions to Respond to HIV/M. tuberculosis Co-Infection

Andrew Charman1, Gerhard Walzl2, Wolfgang Preiser*, 3
1 Sustainable Livelihoods Foundation, Cape Town, South Africa;
2 Department of Science and Technology/National Research Foundation Centre of Excellence in Biomedical TB Research, Faculty of Health Sciences, Department of Biomedical Sciences, Stellenbosch University,
3 Division of Medical Virology, Department of Pathology, Stellenbosch University, Cape Town, South Africa

© 2011 Preiser et al.

open-access license: This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Public License (CC-BY 4.0), a copy of which is available at: This license permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

Correspondence: * Address correspondence to this author at the Medical Virology, Department of Pathology, Stellenbosch University, Cape Town, South Africa. Tel: +27 21 938 9353; Fax: +27 21 938 9361; E-mail:


The paper reports on an investigation undertaken for the Network for European/ICPC cooperation in the field of AIDS and TB (EUCO-Net) into the state of biomedical research on the HIV/AIDS and Mycobacterium tuberculosis (MTB)/tuberculosis (TB) within 13 selected Sub-Saharan African countries. The case countries were Botswana, Central African Republic, Ethiopia, Gambia, Gabon, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, Senegal, South Africa, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe. An important objective of the research was to document the extent of linkages between HIV/AIDS and TB research endeavours within these countries to address co-infection. The study examines five aspects of current research in these fields. First, it considers individual country demographic and epidemiological status. Second, it examines the scope and costs of diagnostic services for these diseases. Third, it considers inter-cultural sensitivities that positively or negatively impact on (or influence) biomedical research in the case countries. Fourth, it identifies the extent of funding for basic science research and details the main institutional funders and recipients of funding. Fifth, it details the scale of medical studies with respect to the two diseases, identifying the scope of research activities within the case countries, the nature of the funding and research partners. The research concludes that African institutions can significantly contribute towards addressing the scientific challenges needed to advance diagnostics, pioneer new drugs and develop vaccines, but only if they receive a significantly higher injection of funding. South African institutions are well positioned (scientifically) to lead research within the African context, having the human capacity to conduct research and benefiting from supportive state institutions.

Keywords: Sub-Saharan Africa, co-infection, tuberculosis, HIV, biomedical research funding..