WHO target product profiles: four diagnostic tests needed in the effort to eliminate African trypanosomiasis

Bull WHO

Human African trypanosomiasis, also known as sleeping sickness, is a lifethreatening parasitic infection transmitted by the tsetse fly in sub-Saharan Africa. Although it caused devastating epidemics during the 20th century, its incidence has now fallen to historically low levels1 thanks to sustained and coordinated efforts over the past two decades.

[...] Several tools are available for the screening and diagnosis of gambiense trypanosomiasis, but tools for rhodesiense trypanosomiasis are either missing or, if they exist, are losing ground in the evolving context of health services in rural Africa.

[...] In this rapidly changing context, the WHO Department of Control of Neglected Tropical Diseases launched a process to identify and prioritize diagnostic needs. A WHO Neglected Tropical Diseases Diagnostics Technical Advisory Group was formed, with different subgroups working on specific neglected tropical diseases. The subgroup of independent experts working on human African trypanosomiasis comprises leading international scientists and specialists, including from countries where the disease is endemic.. The work of the advisory group led to the development of target product profiles for trypanosomiasis diagnostic tests.