About Dr. Richard Lessells

rjlessells@gmail.com +27 31 260 4898


I am a Clinical Research PhD Graduate from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and am currently based at the Africa Centre for Health and Population Studies. I was funded by a fellowship from the Wellcome Trust and my research is focused on evaluation of TB and HIV diagnostics, with a particular interest in drug resistance.


Group Leader: KRISP - KwaZulu-Natal Research and Innovation Sequencing Platform, UKZN, Durban, South Africa.

Associate: Centre for the AIDS Programme of Research in South Africa Advanced Clinical Care (CAPRISA ACC), Durban, South Africa.

Associate: Infectious Diseases Department, Nelson R Mandela School of Medicine, UKZN, Durban, South Africa.


Impact of point-of-care Xpert MTB/RIF on tuberculosis treatment initiation: a cluster randomised trial.
Lessells RJ, Cooke GS, McGrath N, Nicol MP, Newell ML, Godfrey-Faussett P, Am J Respir Crit Care Med (2017), :doi: 10.1164/rccm.201702-0278OC.

HIV drug resistance levels in adults failing first-line antiretroviral therapy in an urban and a rural setting in South Africa.
Rossouw TM, Nieuwoudt M, Manasa J, Malherbe G, Lessells RJ, Pillay S, Danaviah S, Mahasha P, van Dyk G, de Oliveira T, HIV Med. (2016), 2016 :doi: 10.1111/hiv.12400.

Increasing HIV-1 drug resistance between 2010 and 2012 in adults participating in population-based HIV surveillance in rural KwaZulu-Natal South Africa.
Manasa J, Danaviah S, Lessells RJ, Elshareef M, Tanser F, Wilkinson E, Pillay S, Mthiyane H, Mwambi H, Pillay D, de Oliveira T, AIDS Res Hum Retroviruses (2016), 32(8):763-769.

Southern African Treatment Resistance Network (SATuRN) RegaDB HIV drug resistance and clinical management database: supporting patient management, surveillance and research in southern Africa.
Manasa J, Lessells R, Rossouw T, Naidu K, Van Vuuren C, Goedhals D, van Zyl G, Bester A, Skingsley A, Stott K, de Oliveira T, Database (Oxford) (2014), Vol. 2014 :bat082. doi: 10.1093/database/bat082.

HIV & TB Drug Resistance & Clinical Management Case Book.
Rossouw T, Lessells RJ, de Oliveira T, South African Medical Research Council Press (2013), ISBN 978-1-920014-91-9:.

Are subtype differences important in HIV drug resistance?.
Lessells RJ, Katzenstein DK, de Oliveira T, Current Opinion Virology (2012), 2(5):636-43.

Gender Differences in Survival among Adult Patients Starting Antiretroviral Therapy in South Africa: A Multicentre Cohort Study.
Cornell M, Schomaker M, Garone DB, Giddy J, Hoffmann CJ, Lessells R, Maskew M, Prozesky H, Wood R, Johnson LF, Egger M, Boulle A, Myer L For IeDEA-SA, PLoS Medicine (2012), 9(9):e1001304.

Cohort profile: Hlabisa HIV Treatment and Care Programme.
Houlihan C, Bland R, Mutevedzi P, Lessells R, Ndirangu J, Thulare H, Newell ML, Int J Epidemiol (2011), 40:318-26.

Retention in HIV care for individuals not yet eligible for antiretroviral therapy: rural KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa.
Lessells RJ, Mutevedzi PC, Cooke GS, Newell ML., J Acquir Immune Defic Syndr (2011), 56(3):e79-86.

Poor long-term outcomes for cryptococcal meningitis in rural South Africa.
Lessells RJ, Mutevedzi PC, Heller T, Newell ML, S Afr Med (2011), 101:251-2.

International spread of multidrug-resistant tuberculosis from Tugela Ferry, South Africa.
Cooke GS, Beaton RK, Lessells RJ, John L, Ashworth S, Kon OM, Williams OM, Supply P, Moodley P, Pym AS, Emerg Infect Dis (2011), 17:2035-2037.

Evaluation of tuberculosis diagnostics: establishing an evidence base around the public health impact.
Lessells RJ, Cooke GS, Newell ML, Godfrey-Faussett P, J Infect Dis (2011), 204:S1187-95.

Community-based treatment for multidrug-resistant tuberculosis in rural KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa.
Heller T, Lessells RJ, Wallrauch C, Barnighausen T, Cooke GS, Mhlongo L, Master I, Newell ML, Int J TB Lung Dis (2010), 14:420-426.

The TB challenge in a rural South African HIV programme.
Houlihan C, Mutevedzi P, Lessells R, Cooke G, Tanser F, Newell ML, BMC Infect Dis (2010), 10:23.

Scale-up of a decentralised HIV treatment programme in rural KwaZulu- Natal, South Africa: does rapid expansion affect patient outcomes?.
Mutevedzi P, Lessells RJ, Heller T, Barnighausen T, Cooke G, Newell ML, Bull WHO (2010), 88:593-600.

HIV and hepatitis B co-infection in Africa.
Lessells RJ, Main J, Cooke GS, Lancet Infectious Diseases (2008), 8:210-11.

Effect of the HIV epidemic on liver cancer in Africa.
Lessells RJ, Cooke GS, Lancet (2008), 371:1504.

Management of hepatitis B co-infection in human immunodeficiency virus infected subjects.
Lessells R, Leen CLS, Eur J Clin Micro ID (2004), 23(5):366-374.

KRISP Blogs from Bioafrica and SATuRN websites


KRISP News Section from Bioafrica and SATuRN websites


BOOK REVIEW - HIV & TB Drug Resistance & Clinical Management Case Book - Southern African Journal of HIV Medicine - 2013-06-20

University of Pretoria and partners launch a book - University of Pretoria - 2013-03-19

Casebook aims to curb drug resistance - PretoriaNews - 2013-03-19

The Machine That Will Help End TB - MIT Technology review - 2012-12-11

BioAfrica Art & Science section is open! - BioAfrica - 2012-05-10