Research Agenda Working Group

Chair: Fareed Mirza, Head of Research, Novartis Foundation

The Research Agenda Working Group will develop an aligned research agenda for current and potential future innovations in diagnostics, strategies, and interventions to contribute to zero leprosy. The prioritized research agenda is intended to support advocacy for investment.

Its sub-groups will develop research priorities in seven key areas:

  1. Diagnostic tests (PCR, T-cell and other immunological-based tests)
    Facilitator:Dr. Milton Moraes, Assistant General Coordinator of Postgraduate Programs and Manager of the technological platforms for genotyping and gene expression of the Technological Development Program for Health Inputs (PDTIS), Oswaldo Cruz Institute, FIOCRUZ
  2. Interventions to reduce transmission: post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP), including SDR and enhanced chemoprophylaxis, contact management and cluster prophylaxis
    Facilitator: Dr. Christa Kasang, Clinical Research Coordinator, German Leprosy and Tuberculosis Relief Association & The Leprosy Research Initiative (LRI)
  3. Interventions to reduce transmission: vaccines (BCG and novel vaccines, for both pre- and post-exposure)
    Facilitator: Dr. Steve Reed, President, CEO & Founder, Infectious Disease Research Institute (IDRI)
  4. Operational research related to effectively deploying these and other interventions (including mapping, data management, surveillance, monitoring, evaluation, drug resistance, and health systems innovations such as telemedicine and incentives to promote case detection)
    Facilitator: Dr. Paul Saunderson, Chair of ILEP ITC, Medical Director, American Leprosy Missions (ALM), and WHO TAG
  5. Stigma as a barrier to zero leprosy
    Co-Facilitators: Dr. Wim van Brakel, Head of the Technical Department, Netherlands Leprosy Relief (NLR) and Dr. Liesbeth Mieras, Research Scientist, Netherlands Leprosy Relief (NLR)
  6. Disability as a barrier to zero leprosy
    Co-Facilitators: Dr. Wim van Brakel, Head of the Technical Department, Netherlands Leprosy Relief (NLR) and Dr. Liesbeth Mieras, Research Scientist, Netherlands Leprosy Relief (NLR)
  7. Epidemiologic modeling, investment case, and other cross-cutting issues
    Facilitator: Dr. David Blok, Infectious Disease Modeler, Erasmus MC

Call for Participants
The sub-groups will assess current research that is currently in progress, prioritize the new research needed to reach the goal of zero leprosy, and explore promising cross-cutting opportunities, such as digital technologies. Scientists and researchers in leprosy or other NTD areas are encouraged to apply. Persons affected by leprosy and country programme managers are also welcome to apply and bring their perspective to the groups.

Criteria:

  • Expertise in one of the sub-group topic areas.
  • Availability to participate in conference calls during the September-October timeframe.
  • Ability to review drafts and provide comments within a short timeframe.

The membership application will be open through 17 August 2018.