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Small Change, Huge Impact: How an Existing Drug May Change TB Patients’ Lives

From January 16 to 18, the University of Namibia (UNAM) hosted the kickoff meeting for the new project StatinTB.

The project is coordinated by Dr Reto Guler at the University of Cape Town, South Africa with partners from Namibia, Switzerland, Germany and the UK. The consortium will implement a proof-of-concept clinical trial to evaluate whether atorvastatin, a widely used cholesterol-lowering drug, commonly known as statins, could be employed as a repurposed drug for host-directed drug therapy (HDT) in tuberculosis. The goal is to show that by adding atorvastatin to the standard TB therapy, fewer patients will see the disease return after completion of their treatment and will be significantly less likely to develop chronic lung disease, which would result in a much higher quality of life.

The kickoff meeting commenced with a visit of Katutura Hospital’s TB ward in Windhoek and a tour of the UNAM medical campus and laboratories.

In addition to the clinical trial, capacity building for the University of Namibia is an important pillar of the StatinTB project, with activities planned to train clinical, laboratory and administrative staff.

StatinTB will receive 4,945,770 EUR of funding from the second European and Developing Countries Clinical Trials Partnership (EDCTP2) over the duration of four years, starting from January 1st 2019.