To end the decade-long, obstinately stagnant number of new leprosy cases, there is an urgent need for field-applicable diagnostic tools that detect infection with Mycobacterium leprae, leprosy's etiologic agent. Since immunity against M. leprae is characterized by humoral and cellular markers, we developed a lateral flow test measuring multiple host proteins based on six previously identified biomarkers for various leprosy phenotypes. This multi-biomarker test (MBT) demonstrated feasibility of quantitative detection of six host serum proteins simultaneously, jointly allowing discrimination of patients with multibacillary and paucibacillary leprosy from control individuals in high and low leprosy endemic areas. Pilot testing of fingerstick blood showed similar MBT performance in point-of-care (POC) settings as observed for plasma and serum. Thus, this newly developed prototype MBT measures six biomarkers covering immunity against M. leprae across the leprosy spectrum. The MBT thereby provides the basis for immunodiagnostic POC tests for leprosy with potential for other (infectious) diseases as well.Diagnostic Technique in Health Technology; Applied Microbiology; Biotechnology

Applied Microbiology, Biotechnology, Diagnostic Technique in Health Technology,
Department of Public Health

van Hooij, A. (Anouk), Tjon Kon Fat, E.M. (Elisa M.), de Jong, D. (Danielle), Khatun, M. (Marufa), Soren, S. (Santosh), Chowdhury, A.S. (Abu Sufian), … Corstjens, P.L.A.M. (Paul L.A.M.). (2021). Prototype multi-biomarker test for point-of-care leprosy diagnostics. iScience, 24(1). doi:10.1016/j.isci.2020.102006