Who we are

The University of Cape Town (UCT) is a leading university in South Africa. One of the oldest universities in the country, it offers a wide range of undergraduate and postgraduate programmes in various fields, including science, medicine, engineering, humanities and social sciences. UCT is renowned for its academic excellence and research contributions, and is often ranked amongst the top universities in Africa. Similarly, its Faculty of Health Sciences is one of South Africa’s leading medical institutions, known for the quality of its medical training, research, and healthcare. UCT conducts cutting-edge research in many areas of human medicine including infectious diseases, public health, and innovation. The Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital is one of UCT’s teaching hospitals and is a specialised paediatric facility, involved in medical research, advancements and innovations in the field of paediatric medicine. Our overarching goal is to improve the quality of care we can provide to our children. 

Our role in DIAMONDS

The Paediatric Rheumatology research group at Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital, UCT, has been recruiting patients with infectious and inflammatory conditions since 2020. We have enrolled >100 children with diverse conditions, including densely phenotyped children with Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children, Kawasaki disease and juvenile systemic lupus erythematosus. We also have a matched cohort of healthy control children from our catchment area. Given our unique patient population which is often underrepresented in international studies, we are working with DIAMONDS to make our samples available for development or validation of molecular diagnostic tests. 

Our team

Dr Kate Webb is a paediatric rheumatologist, clinician scientist and laboratory immunologist at UCT, where she leads the multi-disciplinary Paediatric Rheumatology research group. She was awarded a Crick African Network Postdoctoral Fellowship to start her own research group in UCT in 2019. During the COVID-19 pandemic, her group led the local discovery of the COVID-related Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children and generated some of the only immunology and genetic data representing African children with this disease to date. This group now focusses on a wide range of paediatric inflammatory and infectious diseases. 

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This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No. 848196