Visceral leishmaniasis

The visceral leishmaniasis data sharing platform provides researchers with a forum for data sharing and collaboration.
Credit: DNDi

VL research

IDDO is providing an opportunity for researchers to share data from VL clinical trials and to participate in pooled analyses to answer specific questions relating to treatments. Find out about our innovative approach to VL research. 

Visceral leishmaniasis (VL) is a parasitic disease which can be fatal if left untreated. Between 200,000 and 400,000 new cases are reported annually, and VL is estimated to kill about 30,000 people each year.

VL, also known as kala-azar, is currently listed by the World Health Organization as a neglected tropical disease. The disease is known to affect the most vulnerable populations in some of the poorest and remotest regions of the world. It is strongly linked with malnutrition, low-quality housing and lack of resources.

Researchers running clinical trials in such remote settings are faced with a number of challenges including:

  • Low patient numbers for inclusion in clinical research in any one setting, leading to VL trials that take longer to complete;
  • Infrastructural challenges due to poor transport and communication facilities making it harder to work in these areas.

Furthermore, existing drugs have serious drawbacks in terms of safety, resistance, stability and cost. They have low tolerability, long treatment duration, and are difficult to administer. Also, the response to VL treatment is not homogenous across continents, not even within the same region. There is a critical need to improve the efficacy of existing treatments and to support the development of new ones. 

The VL data sharing platform provides an opportunity to maximise use of data generated from the few VL trials that have been conducted globally in order to provide evidence to improve treatment regimens and enhance the design and conduct of future VL clinical trials.

More information about VL is available on the Drugs for Neglected Diseases initiative (DNDi) website