Help us end tuberculosis, one of the world’s deadliest diseases. About 1/3 of the world's population is infected with the bacterium that causes TB, which affects both developing as well as developed countries. One person can infect 10-15 others in a year. This global emergency is fueled by resistance to current antibiotics and by co-infections with HIV.
- IDRI's has a promising TB vaccine candidate now in clinical trials. A key differentiating factor of this vaccine is that it targets both active TB, which affects nearly 9 million people each year, and latent TB, which lies dormant but can make people sick when they become immuno-compromised.
- With our partners, we have developed a prototype diagnostic test that rapidly and inexpensively detects active TB, providing significant advantages over current diagnostic methods.
- We are working to discover and develop antibiotics that effectively eliminate TB.
The WHO has declared developing a vaccine for leishmaniasis to be a priority. Leishmaniasis is a widespread parasitic disease with frequent epidemics in the Indian subcontinent, Africa, and Latin America and threatens 350 million people.
- We have developed the first defined vaccine candidate for leishmaniasis and the first recombinant vaccine for canine leishmaniasis.
- Our scientists were the first to identify a recombinant antigen that can be used to diagnose more than 98% of human visceral leishmaniasis.
Help us end leprosy, one of the most ancient disease known to man. Leprosy is still considered a public health problem in 24 countries throughout Africa, Asia, and Latin America. Approximately 800 new cases of leprosy are found daily.
- IDRI has developed a rapid diagnostic tests for primary leprosy diagnosis, important because it is estimated that the delay between onset diagnosis of leprosy is anywhere from 1-3 years. This diagnostic is now registered for use in Brazil, a country with a relatively high rate of leprosy infection.
- We are developing a defined subunit vaccine to provide long- term protection.
IDRI, in conjunction with OrangeLife, a Brazilian diagnostic company, has registered a rapid diagnostic test for leprosy, offering new hope for early diagnosis and treatment.
Leprosy, an ailment most people associate with biblical times, is a chronic infectious disease caused by the bacterium Mycobacterium leprae. It was reported in 130 countries in the past year and is prevalent in countries throughout Africa, Asia and South America – including Brazil. Symptoms include progressive and permanent damage to the skin, nerves, limbs and eyes that can take several years to appear, making the disease hard to diagnosis at an early stage. Nearly 250,000 new cases of leprosy are diagnosed every year, and many more go undetected.
Currently the method of detection for leprosy is by clinical and/or microscopic assessment,” explained Steven Reed, President, Founder and Chief Scientific Officer for IDRI. “There is a great need to more rapidly diagnose the disease, before nerve damage occurs, and we are pleased to have helped develop this technology here at IDRI.”
According to Malcolm Duthie, Senior Scientist at IDRI, the diagnostic test is simple and easy to use. “The test requires just a single drop of blood, mixed with a developing reagent,” he explained. “From there, a line develops and it’s somewhat like a pregnancy test: the appearance of two lines indicates the test is positive and the person has leprosy.” He added that scientific publications regarding the rapid diagnostic indicate its ability to diagnose the presence of infection before clinical symptoms appear, in most cases.
While IDRI’s work in diagnostics can aid in early detection of leprosy, scientists at the organization are also focused on developing a vaccine. “Although there are drugs to treat leprosy, there hasn’t been a focus on prevention,” Reed said. “At IDRI, we are developing a defined subunit vaccine to provide long-term protection for those who are most at risk. Once the three components are in place – a test to diagnose, drugs to treat and a vaccine to prevent – we will finally have the tools to bring an end to this devastating disease.”
To improve the health of women and girls who suffer from leishmaniasis, a disease caused by the bite of a sand fly that can be deadly or cause skin lesions resulting in shunning or social stigma, IDRI is working to develop: (1) diagnostic tools that are easy to use in the field, requiring a single drop of blood rather than an invasive liver, spleen or bone marrow biopsy and (2) a vaccine to prevent the disease, which has a dramatic impact on females in underserved populations of the world.
About 12 million people are believed to be currently infected with leishmaniasis, with about one to two million new cases occurring every year. Particularly problematic for females because of social stigma, leishmaniasis is a widespread parasitic disease with frequent epidemics in the Indian subcontinent, Africa and Latin America. The World Health Organization has declared that developing a vaccine should be a priority.
For a variety of reasons ranging from biological to socioeconomic, many infectious diseases are inordinately problematic for women and girls. Social beliefs, combined with activities associated with child-bearing, rearing and care-giving, make women more susceptible than men to suffering and stigma caused by infectious disease. Particularly problematic for women and girls is leishmaniasis, a parasitic disease caused by the bite of a sand fly.
This poverty-related disease – associated with malnutrition, lack of resources, displacement and weakness of the immune system – can manifest either as a cutaneous form, characterized by skin lesions, or as a more deadly (particularly for children) visceral form, characterized by fever, as well as an enlarged liver and spleen. The cutaneous form is a harbinger of strong social stigmas – ranging from isolation to abandonment, common in areas of conflict and ingrained gender stereotypes. It poses the greatest burden on women and girls from poor health to economic impact to debilitating social stigma.
Scientists at IDRI are working to serve an unmet need by developing
- Diagnostic tools that are affordable and provide early detection
- Vaccines that prevent infection and development of disease
- Educational tools regarding how the disease is spread (only by the sand fly, and not human-to-human) and prevention methods (use of bed nets)
To date, we have
- Identified proteins associated with the disease and supported successful launch of a diagnostic test for visceral leishmaniasis
- Worked to develop an improved, low cost, point-of-care, body fluid diagnostic test for asymptomatic case detection and monitor cure with treatment (critical for disease elimination)
- Designed a recombinant vaccine with a powerful adjuvant to stimulate an immune response against the parasite
- Begun vaccine clinical trials started in 2012, and transferred IDRI’s vaccine technology to India for local production Additional funding to IDRI would support
- Final development, approval and distribution of IDRI’s new diagnostic
- Further development of IDRI’s vaccine candidate
- Design education/training programs for high risk populations