Our staff are constantly engaged in life-saving - healing - testing activities around the world. And leprosy research is helping to find new diagnoses to save more leprosy patients from complications and their consequences. Unfortunately, the urgency of Covid-19 has come to the fore in all our institutions and slows down the normal rhythm of work. This short summary shows the challenges our researchers are facing in the current epidemic situation.
We had to stop our scientific sampling and analysis
They are a vital aid in drug research, as blood, urine and other samples help to better understand leprosy and its consequences. As the epidemic has meant that travel worldwide has had to be kept to a minimum, sampling for screening has had to be suspended until it is safe to travel and group together.
Many of our researchers have themselves been quarantined
Most of our research team, who live and work in countries where the epidemic situation makes this necessary, are permanently or temporarily affected. If a member of our staff tests positive, everyone who has had contact with them will be quarantined.
Our researchers have been overworking since the outbreak
In several countries, health governments have called for increased commitment from all health institutions and workers. Naturally, our staff, researchers and laboratories are willing to do their part. And this means that our already overburdened researchers are focusing their professional efforts on Covid-19 at this critical time, at the request of their countries.
Procurement conditions have become more difficult
Research tools and materials are mainly sourced from overseas (Western) countries. In an epidemic situation, this has become completely or almost impossible due to restrictions and trade closures. It is, however, a very significant and welcome fact that the supply of leprosy drugs is not at any disadvantage, as on the one hand there are very large quantities in stock and on the other hand there is a guarantee of continued supply from the WHO.
The financial base has also shrunk
Research is an expensive activity. We have substantial resources for this from various grants and tenders. However, the epidemic has also overwhelmed the budgets of funding agencies, who are having to consider how to reallocate funds to meet the urgent challenges of Covid-19. We fully understand their position, and we pray and hope that the funds for research will be restored as soon as possible!