The Mycobacterial Research Laboratory (MRL) in the Anandaban Hospital was established in the early 1980s. MRL focuses mainly on leprosy research. Leprosy often affects the “poorest of the poor”: those generations perpetually at risk for malnutrition, poor sanitation, poor housing and limited access to education and basic health care. At present, the MRL is principally engaged in the diagnosis of the disease, genetics and host susceptibility, drug resistance monitoring, co-infections, clinical epidemiology and immunological complications, etc.

Participants (patients) are ethically recruited from Anandaban Hospital and clinics. Blood, stool, tissue and/or urine samples are taken according to the individual project requirement.

The Helminth-2 project is the second phase of the study that is trying to find the effect of soil transmitted helminthiasis in prognosis of the leprosy disease.Mini-Flotac stool microscopy and real time PCR are used to detect the presence of the soil transmitted helminthes in the patient’s stool in a longitudinal follow-up study.

One percent of leprosy patient who received antibiotic treatment are found to go into relapse with bacteria becoming viable again. Since 1980s, MRL is also involved in reporting biological resistance and molecular mutation data for drug resistance surveillance to WHO. Molecular Viability Assay (MVA) will examine the viability of bacteria at molecular level in the lesion of new and treated leprosy patients by reverse transcriptase -real time PCR method.

The presence of live bacilli in the lesions of treated patients will inform policy makers to plan the implementation of drug in more effective way. The immunological shift brought about by the dewormers is expected to increase the chances of diagnosis by clinical and laboratory examination.

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