Seattle, WA | January 30, 2008

The Infectious Disease Research Institute (IDRI), a Seattle-based nonprofit scientific research institute, announced today that it has received a $100,000 two-year grant from the Heiser Program for Research in Leprosy and Tuberculosis of the New York Community Trust. This grant will be used to support IDRI scientist Dr. Malcolm Duthie in his project entitled, “Development of rapid, field-applicable tests for early detection of M. leprae infection.”

Leprosy, a chronic infectious disease caused by the pathogen Mycobacterium leprae, remains a major health concern despite the WHO led eradication program. Diagnosing leprosy is a crucial component in eliminating the disease. Currently, the disease is recognized only after symptoms have manifested, and there is no single diagnostic laboratory test widely used for leprosy.

“This grant will provide important information that can direct national leprosy control programs and provide a foundation for effective elimination campaigns,” says Steven Reed, IDRI’s Head of Research & Development. “We are very proud that the New York Community Trust has provided us with this opportunity.”

IDRI’s project will identify simple and distinct blood-based diagnostic tests to be used in a widespread leprosy elimination program. The intended test, simple and robust, will be antibody-based and have great sensitivity. The final product will be cost-competitive and will permit objective diagnosis outside the laboratory setting in less than thirty minutes. Under IDRI’s technical support and direction, tests will be conducted in Goiania, Brazil, and in Cebu City, Philippines, collaborating with the Federal University of Goias and the Leonard Wood Memorial respectively.

The Leonard Wood Memorial Center is supported by the American Leprosy Missions (ALM), which has played a significant role in IDRI’s leprosy research. ALM funded research has allowed IDRI to generate the data for Dr. Duthie to pursue the current leprosy project.

About IDRI

The Infectious Disease Research Institute (IDRI) is a Seattle-based not-for-profit organization committed to applying innovative science to the research and development of products to prevent, detect, and treat infectious diseases of poverty. By integrating capabilities, including early stage drug discovery, preclinical testing, manufacturing, and clinical trials, IDRI strives to create an efficient pathway bringing scientific innovation from the laboratory to the people who need it most. For more information, visit www.idri.org.

IDRI contact:
Erik Iverson | 206.518.6280 | media@idri.org