Improved diagnosis of cutaneous leishmaniasis thanks to new techniques
Dutch researcher Wendy van der Meide has developed and evaluated new techniques for a better diagnosis of cutaneous leishmaniasis and an improved monitoring of its treatment. Accurately establishing the number of parasites in a skin lesion before, during and after treatment is vital, so as to prevent serious physical consequences.
Cutaneous leishmaniasis (CL) is a non-lethal disease but can have grave consequences for the patient. Such consequences can be prevented with a rapid and accurate diagnosis and treatment. The treatment is based on clinical criteria. Therefore, it is essential to establish the number of parasites present in a skin lesion as accurately as possible before, during and after treatment in order to assess the treatment outcome.
Van der Meide has developed and evaluated a technique for the detection and quantification of Leishmania parasites. The so-called QT-NASBA technique, based on recognition of nucleic acids of the parasite, was found to be a sensitive and specific tool for monitoring treatments. The instrument can also contribute to predicting the clinical outcome. Although QT-NASBA was highly sensitive, another technique, the so-called real-time Reverse Transcriptase PCR was found to be more suitable due to its greater time efficiency and lower costs. In practice, neither of these two techniques will be quickly deployed in developing countries. Therefore, different antigens were also compared in a serological test (ELISA) for use in Brazil and Suriname, where the disease is mainly caused by Leishmania guyanensis. The use of antigens for this species of Leishmania significantly improved the serological test compared to antigens from other species. These results could be vitally important for improving the effectiveness of serological tests for the diagnosis of CL.
Part of the research was carried out in Suriname. Van der Meide discovered that the prescribed treatment was only carried out to completion in a low percentage of cases; just half of the CL patients received the full treatment. Moreover, fewer patients seemed to recover than had previously been observed. Consequently, a shorter and more efficient treatment protocol was recommended to improve the use and efficacy of the treatment. Furthermore, it was demonstrated that not one but three different species of Leishmania in Suriname can cause human infection.
Leishmaniasis is an infectious disease caused by single-celled parasites transmitted by sand flies. The disease occurs in tropical regions in Africa, Asia and America but also in the Mediterranean region and in the Middle East. Worldwide there is a clear and disturbing increase in the number of CL patients. CL results in one or more skin sores, and in the case of L. guyanensis regularly spreads into the lymph vessels. Although the sores can spontaneously disappear over the course of several months or years, they leave severe scars behind. Some types of CL can spread into the mucous membranes. This can lead to considerable damage of the nose cartilage and mouth.
Sonja Knols | alfa
The most recent press releases about innovation >>>
Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:
Computer scientists use wave packet theory to develop realistic, detailed water wave simulations in real time. Their results will be presented at this year’s SIGGRAPH conference.
Think about the last time you were at a lake, river, or the ocean. Remember the ripples of the water, the waves crashing against the rocks, the wake following...
An international team of scientists has proposed a new multi-disciplinary approach in which an array of new technologies will allow us to map biodiversity and the risks that wildlife is facing at the scale of whole landscapes. The findings are published in Nature Ecology and Evolution. This international research is led by the Kunming Institute of Zoology from China, University of East Anglia, University of Leicester and the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research.
Using a combination of satellite and ground data, the team proposes that it is now possible to map biodiversity with an accuracy that has not been previously...
Heatwaves in the Arctic, longer periods of vegetation in Europe, severe floods in West Africa – starting in 2021, scientists want to explore the emissions of the greenhouse gas methane with the German-French satellite MERLIN. This is made possible by a new robust laser system of the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT in Aachen, which achieves unprecedented measurement accuracy.
Methane is primarily the result of the decomposition of organic matter. The gas has a 25 times greater warming potential than carbon dioxide, but is not as...
Hydrogen is regarded as the energy source of the future: It is produced with solar power and can be used to generate heat and electricity in fuel cells. Empa researchers have now succeeded in decoding the movement of hydrogen ions in crystals – a key step towards more efficient energy conversion in the hydrogen industry of tomorrow.
As charge carriers, electrons and ions play the leading role in electrochemical energy storage devices and converters such as batteries and fuel cells. Proton...
Scientists from the Excellence Cluster Universe at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich have establised "Cosmowebportal", a unique data centre for cosmological simulations located at the Leibniz Supercomputing Centre (LRZ) of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences. The complete results of a series of large hydrodynamical cosmological simulations are available, with data volumes typically exceeding several hundred terabytes. Scientists worldwide can interactively explore these complex simulations via a web interface and directly access the results.
With current telescopes, scientists can observe our Universe’s galaxies and galaxy clusters and their distribution along an invisible cosmic web. From the...