ASTMH Annual Meeting 2023

ASTMH Annual Meeting Blog - 2023 / All Blog Posts / A Call for Diagnostic Research Proposals for LF and Onchocerciasis

A Call for Diagnostic Research Proposals for LF and Onchocerciasis

By: Emily Owens, The Task Force for Global Health

Photo: Photo Credit: Kim Won, CDC Global Health 11.19.20

At ASTMH this week, several sessions have explored the challenges related to lymphatic filariasis and onchocerciasis -- two diseases approaching elimination. For example, sessions have covered filariasis epidemiology and control, onchocerciasis elimination mapping, and updates to the onchocerciasis elimination guidelines. For all of these endeavors, diagnostics are crucial. 

And the need for improved diagnostics is ever-present. Programs that target NTDs through mass drug administration need tests to provide data to guide programmatic decisions on the transition from mass treatment to targeted or no treatment, and for some, to verify transmission interruption or to conduct surveillance.

“Infection levels are tested using clinical, parasitologic, or serologic measures,” said Patrick Lammie, director of the Neglected Tropical Diseases Support Center and Chair of the World Health Organization’s Diagnostic and Technical Advisory Group (WHO DTAG). “Development and validation of new diagnostic tests are critical to achievement of WHO’s ambitious new NTD Roadmap targets.”

The Neglected Tropical Diseases Support Center, with USAID funding through the Coalition for Operational Research of Neglected Tropical Diseases (COR-NTD) grant, is soliciting proposals to address the urgent priorities outlined by the WHO DTAG subgroups for lymphatic filariasis (LF) and onchocerciasis. These include identification of new biomarkers as well as development of new highly specific tests to support MDA stopping decisions as well as post-validation surveillance of LF. The call for proposals was announced to attendees of the virtual COR-NTD meeting on November 14.

“USAID and partners have been listening over the last year to the various challenges, priorities and gaps that have been voiced,” said Joseph Shott, Health Scientist in the Division of Neglected Tropical Diseases, Global Health Bureau, USAID. “Through USAID support to the COR-NTD grant that sits with the Neglected Tropical Diseases Support Center at The Task Force for Global Health, we’re pleased to announce an investment of up to $3,000,000 in the area of diagnostics for lymphatic filariasis and onchocerciasis, directly addressing the outputs of the WHO Diagnostic and Technical Advisory Group.”

The call will be formally issued in the coming week. To receive the announcement in your inbox, please sign up for our mailing list here:

Additional details about the needs identified by the WHO DTAG can be found at: 

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