GLRA-India has been an active participant in research on leprosy and tuberculosis (TB), and lately on filariasis. The research encompasses both clinical trials and behaviour study in the field of leprosy. In the year 2013, we formally inaugurated our research and clinical trial division at Kolkata. The research wing funded by, Deutsche Lepra- und Tuberkulosehilfe e. V. (DAHW), Leprosy Research Initiative, and Indian Council of Medical Research is headed by Dr. Vivek Lal, under whose guidance all research is carried out by Dr. Debajit Sarkar.

Here are the details of the research undertaken so far,

Leprosy Post-Exposure Prophylaxis (LPEP), Dadra & Nagar Haveli

LPEP was implemented in Union Territory (UT) of Dadra and Nagar Haveli (DNH) with the objective to assess the operational feasibility of the administration of a Single Dose Rifampicin (SDR) as post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP) to the contacts of leprosy cases. This study was implemented in close coordination with Govt. of DNH, Central Leprosy Division with support from German Leprosy and TB Relief Association (GLRA), Netherlands Leprosy Relief Foundation (NLR), and Erasmus with the financial support from Novartis Foundation. Overall, the contact examination and SDR administration to eligible contacts was carefully carried out. A total of 1530 leprosy cases (index cases) registered in NLEP DNH were enrolled in the study until December 2017 & a total of 37,163 contacts were examined out of which 27231 eligible contacts were administered SDR No. adverse effects were reported by any contact given SDR. Seeing the feasibility of LPEP, Central Leprosy Division issued the guidelines in 2017 to roll LPEP in 163 districts across India where Leprosy Case Detection Campaign (LCDC) was being carried out.

Molecular Epidemiological Study in Purulia, West Bengal (PuMEL Project)

This study is to evaluate the role of host factors as potential markers of susceptibility of leprosy. The objectives of the study are to assess TLR1, TLR2, TLR4, NRAMP1 and TAP1, TAP2 polymorphisms in patients presenting with leprosy and compare the polymorphisms between patients and normal individuals (genetically related and non-genetically linked) from the same community in the study area.

Strategies for Early Detection of Leprosy – LRI Supported study

A comparison of three types of targeted, community based health education interventions aimed at promoting early detection, supported by Leprosy Research Initiative is a collaborative project between The Leprosy Mission Trust India, Netherland Leprosy Relief and GLRA India. It is a multi-centric study and GLRA is undertaking the research in Uttar and Dakshin Dinajpur districts of West Bengal. The three interventions include Training Local practitioners (non-allopathic healers); health education to newly diagnosed leprosy patients; and Increasing awareness in the community regarding early signs of leprosy.

GLRA-India’s Participation in Research

Apart from the above, here is a list of published GLRA-India has been actively involved in:

  1. Srinivas G, Muthuvel T, Lal V, Vaikundanathan K, Schwienhorst-Stich EM, Kasang C. Risk of disability among adult leprosy cases and determinants of delay in diagnosis in five states of India: a case-control study. PLoS Negl Trop Dis. 2019 Jun;13(6):e0007495.
  2. Srinivas G, Kumar S, Mohanraj R, Sekkizhar G, Muthuvel T, Lal V, et al. Development and validation of a scale to assess attitudes of health care providers towards persons affected by leprosy in southern India. PLoS Negl Trop Dis. 2018 Sep;12(9):e0006808. doi: 10.1371/journal.pntd.0006808.
  3. Lal V, Das S, Pal S, Dhali S, Sarkar A, Srinivas G. Improving quality of care using mobile technology: experiences from the Urban Leprosy Project in Kolkata, India. Lepr Rev. 2017;88:270-73.
  4. Lal V. Continued challenges of Leprosy control: an epidemiological perspective. Your Health of Indian Medical Association. 2017 Feb;66(2):11-12.
  5. Das S, Lal V. National Leprosy Eradication Programme in West Bengal. Your Health of Indian Medical Association. 2017 Feb;66(2): 13-14.
  6. Lal V, Sarkar D, Das S, Mahato M, Srinivas G. A study to assess the usage of MCR footwear in West Bengal, India. Lepr Rev. 2015 Sep;86(3):273-77.
  7. Srinivas G, Lal V, Davidson ST, Muthuvel T, George S, Vaikundanathan K. Operational cost for management of leprosy related complicated ulcer in charitable hospitals. Lepr Rev. 2015 Sep;86(3):283-87.
  8. Lal V, Pal S, Haldar NK, Mandal PK, Srinivas G. What parents should know while their child is on MDT: insights from qualitative study in eastern India. Lepr Rev. 2014 Jun;85(2):81-84.