Dr Kyla Comins
My area of research focus is HIV-associated opportunistic infections, particularly cryptococcal meningitis and tuberculosis, the 2 leading causes of death in people living with HIV. I work in clinical trials of various new and repurposed antifungal drugs for the treatment of HIV-associated cryptococcal meningitis, with a view to improve patient outcomes and their treatment experience.
Cryptococcal meningitis accounts for around 180000 deaths annually of which 75% occur in sub-Saharan Africa. Yet little is truly understood about the pathophysiology and immunophysiology of this condition. Through our experience on the AMBITION-cm and EFFECT trials, we hope to be able to bridge the gap between our clinical experience and the laboratory work ongoing at the Neuroscience Institute (particularly with Rachael Dangarembizi) to understand the spectrum of cryptococcosis from infection, through dissemination and ultimately invasion of the CNS and development of fulminant meningitis. We hope that improved understanding of the host-pathogen relationship will lead to new options for treatment of these conditions to improve patient outcomes and reduce mortality.