Developing and trialling diagnostic tests
Leprosy remains difficult to diagnose before symptoms start to appear. These undetectable cases, of which there are millions, make it hard to stop transmission. An early diagnosis of leprosy can reduce transmission and the risks that lead to permanent physical problems, such as reactions, nerve damage, and disability.
Our teams are conducting research into early diagnostic tests in both Asia and Africa. In Bangladesh, our team are trialling a finger-prick test for leprosy that is very similar to a diabetic finger-prick test. This could provide results in minutes. Elsewhere, in Nepal, our team are looking at using smartphones to detect leprosy through spectral imaging.
The Leprosy Mission has a huge reach across Asia and Africa, covering areas containing nearly a quarter of a billion people. With this kind of reach, we are perfectly placed to conduct diagnostic test research.