Brazil is the first country that started the distribution of the preventive treatment after a succesful launch event. On 4 March 2020 NHR Brasil and NLR hosted the official start of the innovative project ‘PEP++: Stop the Transmission of Leprosy!’ Political leaders from federal, state and district levels, as well as representatives from universities, WHO, the Brazilian Dermatological and Hansenology Societies and persons affected by leprosy gathered to kick off and commit their support to this multi-country, and multi-partner collaborative research programme. On 5 March (Sobral) and 6 March (Fortaleza) the first dose of a new preventive treatment was given to close contacts of persons affected by leprosy.
The project takes place in the states of Chandauli and Fatehpur in Uttar Pradesh. The first contacts received the first dose of the new preventive treatment on October 2 2020, soon after the launch meeting. To reflect on this unique moment, we celebrate the starting point of what we expect to be a successful strategy to end leprosy transmission. “In its quest to contribute to achieve zero leprosy transmission, NLR is happy to conduct the multi-country PEP++ study in partnership with a wide range of governmental, university and social stakeholders in India”, says Mr. Jan van Berkel (CEO NLR).
India conducted two mock trials in each district to prepare for the time-motion study. They timed the duration of all procedures for visiting one index case and one contact per RA team. A series of adaptions took place after the first trial and there was a significant reduction in time for the second one. We anticipate this process will continue extensively over the coming years.