August 19th 2011
We can report that we are now in the process of finalising formal research design with Kampala's Makerere University's Medical School. This research, however, has developed substantially from what was being envisaged following our seminar there in May.
Instead of it being a small pilot study run as part of a masters degree, the proposal has now escalated to being a Phase II Randomised Control Trial, with the Professor and Head of the Department of Pharmacology and Therapeutics as the lead investigator. We cannot say how excited we are by this development, since it could mean so much.
Firstly, it means that the scientist doctors at Makerere are awarding the project the same potentials as we are, having now seen and talked themselves with the patients and health workers at Kiswa Health Centre where we ran the first project.
Secondly, the research initiative has literally leap-frogged two levels, taking it far ahead in terms of our most optimistically projected programmes for more rigorous investigation.
Thirdly, with the Professor's involvement, we can expect that any results will be publishable in the sorts of journals that might make impressions with the medical organisations at the coalface of this disease in Africa (MSF etc) - those organisations which could help implement moxa treatment on a far wider scale than we could ever manage and which really could make a difference.
The proposed research is asking simple but vital questions, and the study design is robust. It intends to establish:
- What are the cure rates of standard first line drug treatment plus MOXIBUSTION versus the cure rates of standard drug treatment alone?
- Does the addition of moxibustion to standard TB treatment, improve lives /decrease morbidity and suffering of the TB patient during and after treatment?
With what we've learnt in Uganda and South Africa, however, not only are we convinced that TB and TB co-infected patients can benefit, but we also think that we can further simplify their moxa treatment when drugs are available, and that it will still be effective.