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The Foundation for Innovative New Diagnostics (FIND) and WHO, with a grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, announced on 6 February 2006 that they will begin work on the development and evaluation of new diagnostic tests for human African trypanosomiasis (HAT), also known as sleeping sickness.
HAT, a major public health threat in sub-Saharan Africa, spreads among people bitten by the tsetse fly and is fatal unless treated. Because early-stage infection produces few symptoms, it is thought that only 10% of patients with the disease are accurately diagnosed. FIND and WHO will collaborate in seeking to identify, test and implement diagnostics that will increase the likelihood of early detection of HAT and the opportunity for treatment.
The spread of HAT has reached epidemic proportions in regions of Africa. There is clearly a great need for a simple, accurate and cost-effective way to diagnose the disease so that it can be better treated and controlled. FIND is committed to identifying and implementing diagnostics for infectious diseases and looks forward to securing partnerships and initiating field testing.
Existing diagnostics for sleeping sickness are difficult to implement in remote, impoverished settings. The WHO Department of Control of Neglected Tropical Diseases looks forward to working with FIND to advance new diagnostic tests that could revolutionize HAT …