Re-imagining the future of diagnosis of Neglected Tropical Diseases

21 Feb 2017
Rosanna W. Peeling; Debrah I. Boeras; John Nkengasong

Improved diagnostics for NTDs are essential for guiding treatment strategies at different thresholds of control, interruption of transmission, elimination and post-elimination surveillance. While substantial progress has been made in the last decade with chemotherapy, the same cannot be said of diagnostics, largely due to the perceived lack of a commercially viable market for NTD diagnostics.

New sample in-answer out nucleic acid amplification technologies that can be performed at the point-of-care offer improved performance over current technologies and the potential to test for multiple pathogens using a single specimen. Finding commonalities for different NTDs in terms of geographic overlap, sentinel populations and treatment strategy will allow NTD programs to leverage these innovations to build cost-effective multiplex surveillance platforms. Connectivity solutions linking data from diagnostic laboratories and POC test readers/devices provide opportunities for automated surveillance systems to make health systems more efficient, improving patient outcomes and assessing impact of interventions in real time. New models of public–private product development partnerships are critical in leveraging diagnostic innovation in other priority area for better diagnosis, control and elimination of NTDs.