Head of Wits Node: Department of science and technology/ National research Foundation Centre of Excellence for Biomedical TB research

Bavesh Kana

Bavesh Kana is used to working under negative pressure. Literally. It’s one of the drawbacks of working with the bacterium that causes tuberculosis in trying to develop new TB drugs, vaccines and diagnostic methods. Even more urgent is the fact that South Africa ranks third for TB-burden countries globally, fuelled by the increase of drug-resistant strains and HIV/Aids. The TB scourge needs solutions, fast.

Kana’s PhD explored an area not previously researched in TB and resulted in a potential new drug, currently undergoing trial in South Africa. Because of additional groundbreaking work, Kana was invited to Weill Cornell Medical College to assist a leading TB research group in establishing a new method. In 2011, the prestigious Howard Hughes Medical Institute ran a competition to find the best young scientists in the world. Of 760 scientists who applied, 28 were chosen. Kana was one of them. TB is in for a fight.

— Cat Pritchard

Website: wiebe.co.za