- PhD Fellow
Dr Busizwe Sibandze is a Medical Laboratory Scientist with Masters’ and Honours degrees in Medical Microbiology both from the University of Pretoria. Busizwe did his first degree at the University of Stellenbosch where he majored in Human Physiology and Microbiology. At present, he is leading the implementation of sequencing technology project which is a collaborative initiative of the Ministry of Health of the Government of Eswatini, Research Center Borstel Leibniz Lung Center, Ospedale San Raffaele, Baylor College of Medicine, and the Baylor College of Medicine Children’s Foundation of Eswatini. This project is part of the SeqMDRTB_NET: Global Health Protection Programme which funded by the Federal Government of Germany. This project aims to establish sequencing technologies as diagnostic tool for the rapid prediction of drug resistance in Eswatini. Previous notable projects include; TB Drug Resistance Survey, TB Prevalence Survey and Population-based HIV Impact Assessment Survey (SHIMS3, 2020). Given the extensive experience he has gained in the different national surveys he has developed interest in infectious diseases especially in TB and HIV. His MSc dissertation aimed to describe the occurrence of heterogeneity and heteroresistance in patients with both pulmonary and extra-pulmonary TB.
For his PhD, he aims to evaluate innovative diagnostic tools for detecting TB and rapid prediction of drug susceptibility profiles in a population that cannot produce sputum such people living with HIV and children using a biorepository from the Stool4TB project. He will also investigate the evolution of rpoB I491F mutation which is of molecular epidemiology importance in Eswatini by comparing strains from 2009/2010 and 2017/2018 drug resistance surveys. This particular rifampicin resistant strain escapes all WHO endorsed diagnostics tests used in Eswatini.