1. Are 95% of humanity immune to the leprosy pathogen?
2. Do leprosy parents have healthy children because leprosy is not a hereditary disease?
3. It wasn't until the end of the 19th century that science knew the causative agent of leprosy, because Armauer Hansen only managed to identify it in 1893?
4. Do many misconceptions and unfounded fears cause patients more psychological pain than the physical illness itself? Because leprosy patients lose their sense of pain!
5. Is there a new diagnosis every 2 minutes on Earth?
6. Do leprosy patients lose fingers and limbs not because of the disease, but because they feel no pain and do not protect themselves against injuries, burns and other accidents?
7. Is the incubation period for leprosy very long, up to 1-2 decades?
8. In the 13th century, there were already 19 000 leprosariums (leprosarium) in France?
9. Is there no vaccine against leprosy today?
10. Is one in 5 newly registered patients on the planet a child?
11. Today, humanity is suffering from the ravages of the oldest and the youngest pathogens at the same time! We have been living with mycobacterium leprae for 4000 years, while at the same time we are suffering the full onslaught of the youngest virus, Covid-19! While the masses of experts in the laboratories and the whole of humanity are fighting heroically against the advance of the coronavirus with their own resources, on another front there is a desperate rearguard action against leprosy, which, although scientifically proven and potentially defeated, is in reality crippling the masses, making them unviable and constantly producing new cases of disease! Some important similarities and differences between these two oppressive enemies:
- Covid-19 has only recently been discovered and is still being discovered by science - After thousands of years of obscurity, leprosy has been scientifically described for nearly a century and a half (Armauer Hansen isolated the pathogen in 1973) and cured 50 years ago with excellent drugs!
- The length of Covid-19's journey and how it will continue is still unclear. The leper should be long behind us, and should not even be on Earth today!
- In the case of Covid-19, anyone can be a 'victim': that is, someone can be infected even if they have no symptoms. The leprosy pathogen is only mildly contagious and has no effect on 95 % of humanity, who are basically immune to it!
- The strength of the Covid-19 infection requires for the time being the strictest isolation and control - Isolation, the only possible solution to leprosy for thousands of years, has long since weakened the pathogen, to which, moreover, 95% of humanity is basically immune!
- Scientific research is currently the main battlefield in the fight against Covid-19.However, leprosy, which is easily cured, is still being fought in the most diverse ways: through logistics, by dispelling ignorance, through advocacy, and on a broad societal level by leprosy organisations around the world, including the Leprosy Society.
- The basic functioning of everyday life depends on stopping Covid-19 as soon as possible.However, we still hope to eradicate leprosy from the planet within a few decades, but there is still a long way to go!
- Science is equally committed to both the Covid-19 and leprosy vaccines. For the former, to challenge a sudden universal need, for the latter, to end the ongoing misery of millennia.
- In the face of Covid-19, even in our consolidated culture, a constant warning about the importance of plenty of water and increased sanitation is necessary.In the case of leprosy, the possibility of minimal sanitation and the provision of basic clean drinking water for those in abject poverty would prevent the disease itself from developing, thus eliminating the fact that every 2 minutes someone on Earth is diagnosed with leprosy!
We have a lot to do to reach a leprosy-free world in our lifetime! Many of the faithful supporters of Lepramism in Hungary are praying and sacrificing for this cause. Thank you!
Ms Márta Fazekas Riskón