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Since 2002, American Leprosy Missions has been committed to working towards the development of the world's first leprosy vaccine and a new leprosy diagnostic test in partnership with the non-profit Infectious Disease Research Institute (IDRI) in Seattle, Washington.
During the past ten years we have invested almost $4 million into developing the vaccine and diagnostic test.
Why is a leprosy vaccine needed?
In late October 2011, more than 20 scientists and global health experts gathered at Emory University's Rollins School of Public Health to discuss the current leprosy vaccine research. Read more. In 2013, vaccine toxicology studies will take place, with safety trials starting in 2014.
What could be the impact of a new diagnostic test?
In early 2013, IDRI announced that a new, rapid diagnostic test for leprosy was registered for use in Brazil. According to Malcolm Duthie, Senior Scientist at IDRI, the diagnostic test is simple, easy to use and accurate. “You add a drop of blood and a couple of drops of a developing reagent to the test and a line develops,” he explained. “From there, it’s somewhat like a pregnancy test: the appearance of two lines indicate the test is positive and the person has leprosy.”