AHRI-APOPO project hosts TB scientific workshop in Addis Ababa

By Dr. Negussie Beyene | Program Manager TB Ethiopia

A forum for inductions and discussion on researching the use of TB detection rats in Ethiopia.

Last week close to a hundred tuberculosis (TB) researchers and health professionals met at the Armauer Hansen Research Institute (AHRI) to join a scientific workshop of the AHRI-APOPO TB research project in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

The workshop’s purpose was to create a forum for inductions and discussion on researching the use of TB detection rats in Ethiopia.

Dr. Abebe Genetu Bayih, Director General of AHRI, opened the workshop and provided the audience with a historical overview on AHRI’s long-standing TB and leprosy research and care.

The APOPO team, Christophe Cox, CEO, Dr. Lena Fiebig, Head of TB, and Dr. Negussie Beyene, Program Manager in Ethiopia, presented APOPO’s work from its early beginnings to today’s humanitarian impact in mine action, tuberculosis and exciting future applications. The TB part covered the scientific basics for scent detection and its potential towards future, more simplified TB tests, as well as today’s benefits created from the rats’ (after positive confirmation tests) field application under research agreements, which is combined with service to ensure results within 24 hours and good linkage to care.

Specifically, the aims of the new site in Addis were introduced - First, to enhance case detection in Addis Ababa and contribute to global, ambitious plans to Find. Treat. All. and second, to explore the speed and detection ability of the rats when compared to molecular tests, for active case finding through mass-screening of inmates and prison staff in 35 prisons across Ethiopia.

A round of discussion moderated by Dr. Kidist Bobosha, Director of Mycobacterium Diseases Research Directorate of AHRI, stressed the audience’s great expertise in TB diagnostic and microbiological research and generated fruitful ideas and advice on the research and its scientific evaluation.

The workshop was completed by a live demonstration of our TB detection rats Majaliwa and Genovive which raised high interest among the audience.

The Ethiopian AHRI-APOPO TB research project is funded by Skoll Foundation and Elton John AIDS Foundation and partnered by the German Leprosy and Tuberculosis Association Ethiopia office, the Federal Prison Administration Commission, Ethiopia Federal Ministry of Health and Addis Ababa City Council Health Bureau.

AHRI and APOPO sincerely thank all supporters and workshop participants for enabling this forum for discussion and networking, which will inspire the future joint research and activities tackling the TB detection gap.