NTRL presents research in 50th Union World Conference
In photo: RITM Researcher Dodge Lim presenting his study on genome sequencing among the participants of the 50th Union World Conference. Photo courtesy of NTRL.

Four researchers from the RITM National Tuberculosis Reference Laboratory(NTRL) presented their researches in the 50th Union World Conference on Lung Health held in Hyderabad, India from October 28-November 2, 2019.

NTRL Research and Policy Section Science Research (RPS) Specialist II Dodge Lim presented his study entitled, “Mycobacterium tuberculosis whole genome sequencing provides insights into the Manila strain and drug resistance mutations in the Philippines”, a collaborative scientific project aimed to establish a national genomic database of circulating M. tuberculosis strains in the country particularly drug resistance. NTRL Laboratory Network Support Section (LNSS) Bacteriologist II Eddie Sistoso Jr. then shared the country’s experience in the expansion of high impact diagnostic devices such as the Xpert MTB/RIF Assay.

Meanwhile, NTRL TB LAMP Study Coordinator Rosarie Gabuya explained the role of different technologies for TB diagnosis in the Philippines zeroing in the journey of the TB LAMP from evaluation to policy to pilot implementation in the country.  NTRL RPS Program Officer Joseph Edwin Bascuña discussed the results of the two-phased study conducted by NTRL on the evaluation of the TB-LAMP as a novel diagnostic test recommended by WHO as an alternative replacement to the antiquated TB microscopy in detecting M. tuberculosis among pulmonary adult TB patients in peripheral laboratories.

In photo: (L-R) Researchers Eddie Sistoso, Rosarie Gabuya,  Joseph Edwin Bascuña, and Dodge Lim representing RITM in the 50th Union World Conference in Hyderabad, India. Photo courtesy of NTRL.

With the theme Ending the Emergency: Science, Leadership, Action, the Union’s 50th conference is the largest gathering of health professionals, scientists and civil society aimed to ensure that commitments become action, and that lifesaving targets that were set after the first ever United Nations (UN) High-Level Meeting on TB and the third UN High-Level Meeting on non-communicable diseases are met.

His Honourable Vice-President of India Shri Venkaiah Naidu stressed the importance of translating commitments into actions so that lifesaving targets could be met. Notable personalities such as Dr. Tamilisai Soundararajan (Governor of Telangana), Claire Forlani (Hollywood actor and Ambassador for The Union), Dr. Jeremiah Chakaya Muhwa (President of The Union) and Dr. Jamie Tonsing (Director of the The Union’s South East Asia office) were also present to grace the event.

The Union closed with the announcement of The 51st Union World Conference on Lung Health at Seville, Spain on 21-24 October 2020. The theme, Advancing Prevention, will highlight prevention as a key strategy to ending TB, reducing tobacco use and improving lung health, and avoiding hundreds of thousands of deaths each year.

by Dodge Lim, National Tuberculosis Reference Laboratory