In order to identify critical gaps in knowledge related to transmission and to set priorities, R2STOP founder effect:hope commissioned an independent literature review entitled “Systematic Literature Review on Current Knowledge Regarding the Transmission of Leprosy”.
Remarkable progress has been made in the treatment and management of leprosy over the last 60 years. Current control strategies rest on early detection of disease and appropriate Multi-Drug Therapy (MDT) to cure the patient and halt transmission within the community. These strategies are built on a solid understanding of therapeutics for mycobacterial diseases but suffer from an incomplete understanding of transmission of Mycobacterium leprae and a shortage of tools that can truly diagnose leprosy at an early stage. Accordingly, transmission continues in many areas of the world.
To clarify the current state of our knowledge of M. leprae transmission and to establish a research agenda to address gaps in our understanding of transmission, an international symposium entitled “Developing Strategies to Block the Transmission of Leprosy” was organized and sponsored by effect:hope and held on May 29–30, 2014. The meeting was hosted by the National School of Tropical Medicine, Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas. The goal of the symposium was to establish a research agenda, aimed at bridging the gaps in our understanding of M. leprae transmission, which will complement a global research strategy focused on eliminating leprosy.
While the initial focus of the research agenda is the transmission of M.leprae, the bacteria that causes leprosy, R2STOP aims to award grants for research investigating questions of transmission of other neglected tropical diseases in the future.