When I started working on the research and science of leprosy more than a decade ago, people thought this chronic infectious disease would eliminate itself and burn out over time.
We didn’t have time for that. Why? Nearly 250,000 new cases of leprosy are diagnosed every year, and many more go undetected. Approximately 10 percent of new cases occur in children.
Even though it’s associated with biblical times, leprosy remains a problem in the modern era and was reported in 130 countries worldwide. It’s most prevalent in a number of countries throughout Africa,,Asia and South America. Symptoms include
progressive and permanent damage to the skin, nerves, limbs and eyes but they can take several years to appear, making the disease hard to diagnose at an early stage.
Even worse, leprosy comes with a stigma. Unlike most other diseases, leprosy results in isolation, as people with leprosy are often shunned. The good news, however, is
we now have the key scientific solutions and momentum as well as key col} to finally have the opportunity to eliminate leprosy. I couldn’t have said this 10 we are also attacking leprosy in two different ways. Pp
First, by developing a fast, easy-to-use test that provides an early diagnosis of ing . before clinical symptoms, such as nerve damage, begin to appear. This new appear , Ya, superior to the traditional method of diagnosis, which has generally involved And/or microscopic assessment. IDRI is
Also developing a companion test so P|
sat we can identify which people will likely progress to the disease and to e j . determine the appropriate course of 4 L ” Treatment.
And, second, by developing a vaccine that can be used therapeutically in
Conjunction with antibiotics to shorten therapy. IDRI’s diagnostic tools would _ ™ \ be used to identify infected individuals
and DRI’s vaccine would then be used . on a targeted basis for treatment of the patient as well as to immumise family member), and close contacts. This treatment and prevention strategy has been sign f. bolstered by support from some pharmaceutical giants that donate the currently u antibiotics. The most exciting part of this breakthrough is the fact that we’re now on course of human clinical trials after a decade of leprosy vaccine op The Food and Drug Administration will initially oversee the multi-stage in USA before they move on to the Philippines, India and Brazil
Global technology has been an integral part of our quest to eliminate . rapid diagnostic test for leprosy infection, for example, was developed in
_ With a Brazilian company. This company combined IDRI’s leprosy diagnostic ant with a smart phone-based platform that standardizes the ability to accu!
_ interpret results and get a quantitative value. The test requires just a single dr blood, mixed with a developing reagent. The appearance of two lines indicates th ” person is positive for leprosy. From there, the information from the phone 1s pus!
AS person’s medical records.
People around the world now believe we will soon have the tools to finally eliminate leprosy.the next is making this diseases disappear.