Leprosy is a neglected disease, but research is essential as the elimination of leprosy bacilli from host cells presents a significant challenge. This may be due to the quiescent nature of Mycobacterium leprae. Infection of host cells induces differential responses in humans, based on which the disease shows a spectrum of disease manifestation, from lepromatous on one pole to tuberculoid form on the opposite pole.
The advent of multidrug therapy (MDT) has revolutionized the control of leprosy, but elimination can only be achieved with a vaccine.
BCG is the most studied vaccine and holds promise. Several studies indicate that BCG confers some protection against leprosy. In this talk Dr Yumi Maeda, of the Leprosy Research Center National Tokyo Institute of Infectious Diseases, Japan, will discuss how her team has constructed a recombinant BCG that secretes Major Membrane Protein-II of M. leprae, and found that it was effective in inhibiting the growth of M. leprae in mice footpads. Studies are underway to produce BCG that is stable and can be used for large scale preparation.
Detection of leprosy is also necessary for early treatment. From the analysis of the genomic sequence, specific genes coding for antigens of leprosy were selected for evaluating the antibodies in the sera of patients, and user-friendly tools are also being developed.
Location: Online via Zoom
Time and Date: 10:00 GMT, 30 November 2021