The Aurum Institute Welkom MDR-TB Clinical Research Centre / Kopano Department of Health (DoH) MDR-TB, Treatment Clinic (Welkom CRC) is located in the town of Welkom in the Lejeweleputswa district and Matjhabeng municipality (population 406 4611) in the Free State Province (population: 2 745 5902) of South Africa (population 51 770 5602), and is situated 260 kilometers (163 miles), from Johannesburg in the Gauteng province of South Africa. Both drug sensitive and drug resistant Mycobacterium tuberculosis incidences and prevalence are high in this area.
About The Research Centre
The Aurum Institute is experienced in working in and with the mining community and has conducted, to date, the largest randomised clinical trial rolling out community-wide isoniazid preventative therapy. The Aurum Institute Clinical Trials Unit has conducted a multitude of clinical trials in the areas of TB Vaccines, HIV Vaccines and TB treatment.
The Aurum Institute, for the first time will collaborate the Department of Health Kopano MDR-TB Treatment Unit in Welkom – The Welkom Clinical Research Centre (CRC), which has a steady influx MDR-TB cases through a fully established patient referral network with over 46 Primary Healthcare Clinics in the Free State province with Sub-Investigator Dr Noor Zakhura, the Head of MDR-TB, XDR-TB and HIV for the Free State province.
The Welkom CRC is a state of the art MDR-TB treatment facility operating at 100% capacity with 45 inpatients. The facility is designed to reduce the spread of TB by separating in-patients according to the length of received treatment / perceived TB infectivity status. The CRC’s layout ensures airflow is maximised within the facility. UV germicidal lights have been installed strategically throughout the facility.
Given the number of staff available and the possibility of increasing the number of beds for in-patients, the facility has the potential to enrol large numbers of MDR-TB patients in a short period of time as an efficient referral network has been established between Primary Healthcare clinics treating DS-TB and the Welkom CRC / DoH MDR-TB Treatment Unit. The “TB STOP PARTNERSHIP and the “European & Developing Countries Clinical Trials Partnerships” has recognised that more TB research sites capable of conducting Phase II and Phase III trials are crucial to eradicating TB globally. Site expansion and capacity development are therefore key action items to ensure that existing sites are capable of streamlining and conducting larger trials, whilst development of new sites, such as the Welkom CRC, are increasingly needed to conduct trials.
In excess of 2 400 (including both in and out-patients) diagnoses are made each year, all of which are resistant to standard dosing regimens of isoniazid and rifampicin. The Welkom CRC is able to recruit up to 75 participants with dis-concordant results within the same drug class drug susceptibility profiles within 12 months and plans to disseminate study findings together with the TB Alliance to the scientific community through conferences and publications.