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First field-based molecular diagnostic test for African sleeping sickness in sight
Date:9/15/2011

This press release is available in French.

Bamako, Mali (15 September 2011) The Geneva-based not-for-profit foundation FIND and Japanese diagnostics company Eiken announced today that a next-generation molecular test designed specifically for sleeping sickness a deadly parasitic disease also known as human African trypanosomiasis (HAT) - is ready to enter accelerated field trials in sites across the Democratic Republic of Congo and Uganda. If all goes well, the LAMP (Loop-mediated Isothermal Amplification) test - which has completed design and development phases - will be available for clinical use in 2012.

The announcement was made at the 31st biennial of the International Scientific Council for Trypanosomiasis Research and Control (ISCTRC), in Bamako, Mali.

Designed to be suitable for use in rural African settings where the disease is most common, the LAMP test promises to dramatically improve the ability to confirm a diagnosis of sleeping sickness - even when parasites are present in low numbers - through detection of the parasite's DNA in patient samples. FIND is also exploring LAMP's utility as a tool to confirm cure after treatment of HAT, which would significantly reduce the follow-up period, and could eliminate the need for repeated lumbar punctures.

If not diagnosed and treated early, sleeping sickness inexorably progresses to a stage where the parasites enter the brain, making treatment more difficult and the likelihood of irreversible neurological damage more likely.

"We are pleased to learn that FIND is accelerating its programme to bring molecular diagnostic tools to the field," said Dr. Jean Jannin, Coordinator in the World Health Organization's Control of Neglected Tropical Diseases Department. "The need for sensitive and specific tools - more user-friendly, stable and cheaper - is growing as we move closer to
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Contact: Preeti Singh
psingh@burnesscommunications.com
301-280-5722
FIND
Source:Eurekalert

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