Jacob Otu reshaping current concepts on drug-resistance prevalence in West Africa

Mr Jacob Otu Higher Scientific Officer on the WANETAM project Mr Jacob Otu was the Higher Scientific Officer on the West African Node of Excellence for Tuberculosis (TB), AIDS and Malaria (WANETAM) project. Jacob’s research interests are in molecular characterisation of multi-drug resistant, TB diagnostics and clinical trials. Jacob is a joint first author of; The emerging threat of pre-extensively-drug-resistant tuberculosis in West Africa: preparing for large scale tuberculosis research and drug resistance surveillance. A WANETAM paper which informs public health strategists to urgently implement drug-resistance prevalence surveillance and control interventions in West Africa.

Mr Jacob Otu Higher Scientific Officer on the WANETAM project

Mr Jacob Otu
Higher Scientific Officer on the
WANETAM project

Jacob has over 35 years of experience managing clinical mycobacteriology laboratories and in the diagnosis of tuberculosis including multidrug-resistant (MDR) and extensively drug-resistant (XDR) in low-income countries. He is currently pursuing an MSc in Medical Microbiology and a Master of Philosophy (MPhil) on the research topic prevalence of multidrug-resistant TB between new and previously treated TB patients from West Africa.

Having previously been trained in Japan, South Africa and the UK, Jacob was instrumental in leading the MRCG TB diagnosis laboratory efforts to Good Clinical Laboratory Practice (GCLP) ISO-accreditation and key to the production of high-quality data in the TB diagnosis laboratory for patient care, TB surveys and TB clinical trial. He has authored and co-authored several papers and has made several presentations at major international conferences.

His vast experience was cherished during the in-house and off-site training for the WANETAM researchers. To achieve common quality standards within the WANETAM study sites, Jacob trained over 60 West African researchers from eight countries in various laboratory techniques. This enabled these researchers to successfully recruit and collect TB isolates from patients across the West Africa region for drug-resistance testing at the MRCG category three TB laboratory.

Jacob joined MRC Unit The Gambia in 2000, he retires from MRCG in March 2017, having worked for MRCG for 17 years. Prof Martin Antonio, Unit Molecular Biologist and Principal, Investigator, Vaccines and Immunity Theme said ‘‘The Unit thanks Jacob for his dedication and continuous service to MRCG and wish him well in future endeavours.”