Disease Areas & Products

Leishmaniasis (KALA-AZAR)

Leishmaniasis is caused by the protozoan Leishmania parasites which are transmitted by the bite of infected female Phlebotomine sandflies. The disease affects some of the poorest people on earth. As a result of this, an estimated 700,000 to 1 million new cases and some 26,000 to 65,000 deaths occur annually. There are 3 main forms of Leishmaniases – Visceral (also known as Kala-azar and the most serious form of the disease), Cutaneous (the most common), and Mucocutaneous.

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Leishmaniasis causing protozoan Leishmania parasites

Major Risk Factors

Poverty increases the risk for Leishmaniasis. Poor housing and domestic sanitary conditions (such as a lack of waste management or open sewerage) may increase sandfly breeding and resting sites, as well as their access to humans. Sandflies are attracted to crowded housing as these provide a good source of blood-meals. Human behaviour, such as sleeping outside or on the ground, may increase risk.

Social Impact of Visceral Leishmaniasis

Infection is transmitted by female sandfly and is the deadliest vector-borne parasitic disease after malaria Deadliest After Malaria
90% mortality rate for untreated Kala-azar cases. Treatment reduces to 15% and is 3.4% even in specialized hospitals Untreated Cases
Affected Include Leishmaniasis (Kala-Azar) affects mostly women and children 0-9 years of age

Symptoms & Diagnosis

The most common form is Cutaneous Leishmaniasis, which causes skin sores. The other main form is Visceral Leishmaniasis, which affects several internal organs (usually spleen, liver, and bone marrow) and can be life threatening. Affected people usually have fever, weight loss, enlargement (swelling) of the spleen and liver, and low blood counts—a low red blood cell count (anaemia), a low white blood cell count (leukopenia), and a low platelet count (thrombocytopenia).

Confirmatory diagnosis of Visceral Leishmaniasis (VL), as well as diagnosis of relapses and test of cure, usually requires examination by microscopy of samples collected by invasive means, such as splenic, bone marrow or lymph node aspirates. This causes discomfort to patients, with risks of bleeding and iatrogenic infections, and requires technical expertise.

Case for India
Relevant Solutions

India accounts for 40% to 50% of the world’s burden of the disease. In India Leishmania Donovani is the only parasite causing this disease. The only sandfly vector in India is Phlebotomus Aregentipes. Kala-azar has been endemic to four states in India – Bihar, Jharkhand, West Bengal, and Uttar Pradesh. The cases of those affected by the disease has been steadily decreasing over the years. But the first line of defence against this disease has always been accurate and fast diagnosis. NGIVD employs Loop-mediated Isothermal Amplification (LAMP) Leishmania Detection Kit, which comes as dried down reagents that can be stored at room temperature, and allows simple visualization of results.

4 states affected by Kala-azar map

Our Solutions

Leish LAMP Test

Technology Licensed from ICMR
Our Solution: Leish LAMP Test
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Key features

The ground breaking Leish LAMP Test being developed by NGIVD will change the way Leishmaniasis is being diagnosed and treated in the country. Leish LAMP Test will help turn the tide in the fight against the Leishmaniasis and potentially aid in the eradication of the disease.

  • Molecular diagnostics test for diagnosis of Leishmaniasis
  • Technology licensed from ICMR
  • Utilizes the simple molecular diagnostics platform of LAMP (Loop Mediated Isothermal Amplification)
  • Easy implementation at Tier 2-3 levels enabling prevention of VL, PKDL and Asymptomatic Kala Azar
  • Can be used as a Universal Screening test for Elimination of Kala Azar as per NSP of Government

Current status

  • Proto-type development in progress
  • Clinical validation by Dec 19
  • Time to market – 15-18 months
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