This Day On The Street
Continue to site
ADVERTISEMENT
This account is pending registration confirmation. Please click on the link within the confirmation email previously sent you to complete registration.
Need a new registration confirmation email? Click here

KwaZulu-Natal Research Institute And IBM Research Fight Tuberculosis In South Africa

DURBAN, South Africa, March 24, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- On World Tuberculosis Day, IBM (NYSE: IBM) and the KwaZulu-Natal Research Institute for Tuberculosis and HIV (K-RITH) have announced plans to research new treatment approaches to fight tuberculosis (TB) in South Africa. IBM's Big Data analytics technologies will be put to work on bacterial genetics and drug susceptibility tests to better understand the genomic mechanisms that cause resistance to antibiotics. The ultimate goal is to find new treatments and diagnostic approaches to fight TB.

IBM Corporation logo

Photos: https://www.flickr.com/photos/ibm_research_zurich/sets/72157642591006375/

The scale of the TB problem in Southern Africa is largely a result of HIV infection, lack of integration between HIV and TB treatments and historic challenges in healthcare delivery. Currently South Africa has the world's third highest burden of TB, with the province of KwaZulu-Natal being the most affected by both drug-susceptible and drug-resistant tuberculosis. Over 100,000 cases of TB are reported every year from this province alone and over 60% are also infected with HIV.

The KwaZulu-Natal Research Institute for Tuberculosis and HIV (K-RITH), which is based at the University of Kwazulu-Natal's Nelson R. Mandela School of Medicine, is an independent research institute established in 2009 to conduct basic science research into TB and HIV, and translate the scientific findings into new tools to control these deadly diseases. The Institute's work has boosted the TB and HIV research capabilities of scientists in South Africa. The work with IBM involving its Big Data and deep data analytics technology will enable K-RITH to understand bacteria genomes from drug-resistant strains of M. tuberculosis-- the bacteria that causes TB.

According to Associate Investigator at K-RITH, Dr. Alex Pym, the agreement with IBM is "a significant collaboration" that gives South African scientists access to IBM's computational expertise in bioinformatics and machine learning. "This will allow us to analyze data in new and imaginative ways and it holds the promise of giving us better insight into the mechanisms of drug resistance, leading to better diagnostic tests," said Dr. Pym.

The science has benefitted from IBM's global network of research labs and world leading expertise in computational biology. Researchers from the Haifa, Melbourne, and Africa labs are working together to analyze over 200 TB genomes, each with 4.4 million base pairs, to better understand the complex clinical picture of African tuberculosis infections.

Michal Rosen-Zvi, senior manager of analytics at IBM's Research Lab in Haifa, Israel said, "TB drug resistance is a far more complex genome by comparison to something like the HIV virus. The bioinformatics or computational tools needed to extract information on the disease are very new, yet cracking the code of this genomic information will help define which treatment combinations work best for different patients and how they work on different strains of TB."

"For HIV, technology can look at the difference in viral load before and after treatment, and use that to understand whether the treatment was a success. But in TB, there is no single measure that defines the status of the disease. We will need to develop multiple ways to label the treatment outcomes and new methods to indicate whether a treatment was effective," said Rosen-Zvi.

1 of 2

Check Out Our Best Services for Investors

Action Alerts PLUS

Portfolio Manager Jim Cramer and Director of Research Jack Mohr reveal their investment tactics while giving advanced notice before every trade.

Product Features:
  • $2.5+ million portfolio
  • Large-cap and dividend focus
  • Intraday trade alerts from Cramer
Quant Ratings

Access the tool that DOMINATES the Russell 2000 and the S&P 500.

Product Features:
  • Buy, hold, or sell recommendations for over 4,300 stocks
  • Unlimited research reports on your favorite stocks
  • A custom stock screener
Stocks Under $10

David Peltier uncovers low dollar stocks with serious upside potential that are flying under Wall Street's radar.

Product Features:
  • Model portfolio
  • Stocks trading below $10
  • Intraday trade alerts
14-Days Free
Only $9.95
14-Days Free
Submit an article to us!
SYM TRADE IT LAST %CHG

Markets

DOW 18,024.06 +183.54 1.03%
S&P 500 2,108.29 +22.78 1.09%
NASDAQ 5,005.3910 +63.9670 1.29%

Partners Compare Online Brokers

Free Reports

Top Rated Stocks Top Rated Funds Top Rated ETFs