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Hanif Esmail


Clinical Lecturer in Microbiology and Infectious Diseases

  • Honorary Consultant in Infectious Diseases and Acute Medicine
  • Honorary Research Associate - University of Cape Town

My research focuses on understanding the natural history of tuberculosis, specifically the nature of latent tuberculosis infection and its progression to clinical disease and the impact of HIV-1 co-infection on this. 

The main purpose of this work is to address the issue that the currently available tests for latent infection poorly predict who will develop disease. 

Much of my research is conducted in South Africa and I am closely affiliated with the new Wellcome Center for Infectious Diseases Research in Africa at the University of Cape Town. 

Our work has challenged the conventional binary division of asymptomatic latent infection and symptomatic disease.  In a proof of concept study we have recently characterised evidence of subclinical disease in a number of asymptomatic HIV-1 infected adults, conventionally determined to have latent infection, utilising high resolution imaging (FDG-PET/CT). 

In on-going work we are using whole blood transcriptomics to identify biomarkers for subclinical disease and to understand biological processes in early disease. 

With the insight from this research I have contributed to the development of a target product profile for a test of progression of latent tuberculosis infection, with the Stop TB Partnership New Diagnostics Working Group.  

I also co-ordinate the microbiology component of the Laboratory Medicine module for 4th year medical students and work as an honorary consultant in Infectious Diseases and Acute Medicine at Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.

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