Shaheed Vally Omar MSc(Med) PhD(Med), is a Medical Scientist with specialization in Microbiology, focusing on Mycobacterium tuberculosis research since his post-graduate training. He currently leads the following scientific programmes at the Centre for Tuberculosis,
National Institute for Communicable Diseases; diagnostic evaluations for both active and latent disease state, drug resistance determination and surveillance, molecular epidemiology of drug resistance tuberculosis and the application of novel technologies for these purposes.
He further is the lead scientist of the National TB Reference Laboratory as well as the WHO TB Supranational Laboratory Network.
Dr. Omar has been instrumental in the establishment and implementation of molecular-based applications at the Centre, which shaped capacity to perform molecular typing and Next-Generation Sequencing.
His current research focus includes; evaluation of the new technologies for detection and drug resistance prediction of Mycobacterium tuberculosis, establishment of breakpoints and critical concentrations for
diagnostic laboratory phenotypic drug susceptibility testing of new and repurposed drugs, surveillance, emergence and evolution of drug resistance to these novel drugs, the identification of genetic correlates/markers associated with drug resistance and a survey on latent
TB infection in Health Care Workers in South Africa.
He has over 50 peer-reviewed publications amongst them papers in the New England Journal of Medicine, Lancet Infectious Disease and Nature Communications. In addition, he has participated as a presenter or invited speaker at over 60 local and international conference preceding.
He further serves as a peer reviewer for several accredited journals.
His collaborations are both local and international and is currently a Principal Investigator for South Africa on several studies contributing to the development on novel strategies for the diagnosis of tuberculosis and drug resistance detection and control of the burden of disease.
He is member on the Comprehensive Resistance Prediction for Tuberculosis: An International Consortium (CRyPTIC) and Public Health Alliance for Genomic Epidemiology (PHAGE consortium), which focuses on operationalizing next-generation sequencing for diagnostic and surveillance applications. He has been selected to form part of the Expert Panel and Technical Expert Group advising in his area of expertise for the Foundation for New Innovative Diagnostics and the World Health Organization, respectively.