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Andrew Nunn awarded the Union Medal for his work on tuberculosis

29 October 2018

Andrew Nunn, Professor of Medical Statistics at the MRC Clinical Trials Unit at UCL, has been awarded The Union Medal at the 49th Union World Conference on Lung Health. The Union Medal, The Union’s highest honour is awarded to members who have made an outstanding contribution to the control of tuberculosis (TB) or lung health by their scientific work and/or actions in the field.

"Andrew's contribution to the field of global TB control is outstanding - his contribution to research on TB treatment has made a real difference to the lives of many people with TB around the world." - Dr Dermot Maher, Coordinator of Research Capacity Strengthening for the Special Programme for Research and Training in Tropical Diseases (TDR), Geneva, Switzerland.

Andrew Nunn joined the MRC’s Tuberculosis & Chest Diseases Unit as a statistician in 1966. During the next 20 years he was directly involved in the design, conduct and analysis of the programme of trials conducted under the leadership of Professors Wallace Fox and Denny Mitchison in East Africa, Hong Kong and Singapore which led to the worldwide adoption of short course chemotherapy for tuberculosis.

Following the closure of that unit he joined the MRC’s Uganda AIDS Programme which researched the dynamics of the HIV epidemic in a rural African environment. On his return to the UK he became head of the Division Without Portfolio within the newly formed MRC Clinical Trials Unit with responsibility for developing trials in neglected areas.

Andrew is Co-Chief Investigator of STREAM, the first randomised controlled-trial of a treatment regimen for multi-drug resistant TB. In the context of treatment guidelines based on ‘very low quality’ evidence, Andrew designed STREAM to generate gold-standard evidence on the safety and efficacy of the promising 9-month short-course regimen previously evaluated only in observational studies. The trial has subsequently been adapted to test a bedaquiline-containing oral regimen. Andrew has also led on two recent trials to assess shortened treatment regiments for TB – Rifaquin and ReMoxTB.

"Andrew has contributed greatly to the current state of knowledge and expertise in TB clinical drug trials in many parts of the world, probably more than any other statistician in recent times." - Dr Alwyn Mwinga, CEO Zambia AIDS Related Tuberculosis (ZAMBART) Project, Zambia

The Union World Conference

The Union World Conference hosts a four-day scientific programme and serves as a vital meeting place for all those working on every aspect of lung health.

The Medal was presented during the conference.

The Union Medal

An interview with Andrew Nunn – our latest podcast

To celebrate Andrew’s award, we have interviewed him for the third episode in our ‘Behind the Trials’ podcast series, where we delve into the career and work of some of the Unit’s staff. Andrew was interviewed by Saiam, a research fellow and statistician based at the MRC CTU at UCL.