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Synthetic peptide antigens as a tool for species-specific serodiagnosis of leishmaniasis with field applications in Brazil and Colombia


The overall objective is to evaluate a series of synthetic peptides, derived from important leishmania genes, which can be used, in field conditions, for a species-specific sero-diagnosis of leishmaniasis. The rationale of the proposed study is based on the observation that a synthetic 15 amino-acid peptide, based on the sequence of a Leishmania donovani gene, could be used in the laboratory for a specific serodiagnosis of visceral leishmaniasis
The main objectives of the proposed study are:
i) to field test the existing peptide assay in selected areas of Brazil and Colombia, endemic for visceral leishmaniasis in order to evaluate its predictive Value (with particular emphasis on the diagnosis of subclinical and asymptomatic forms of L.donovani infections).
ii) to perform similar studies in areas endemic for cutaneous/ mucocutaneous leishmaniasis and Chagas disease in order to confirm the species-specificity of the existing peptide.
iii) to further improve the peptide-carrier construct.
iv) to use the same rationale and technology, previously employed for L.donovani to construct synthetic peptide antigens specific for other leishmania species, particularly the Leishmania braziliensis complex. v) to include the peptide-carrier constructs into assays which can be readily used in field conditions.
The project will directly contribute to the application in the field of the results of basic research in molecular biology, immunology and chemistry to the development of a new simple and affordable diagnostic method for an important disease, of populations living in tropical and sub-tropical areas.


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Pembroke Place
United Kingdom

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