Open call to join new studies launched by the VL research community

Two new Study Groups, a collaboration between IDDO and the global visceral leishmaniasis (VL) research community, have been formed to answer specific research questions about treatments. They will undertake individual patient data meta-analyses using datasets from multiple studies, across sub-populations of interest, to help explore sources of between-study heterogeneity in therapeutic responses. Colleagues from across the VL research community are invited to join.

Group of children
Credit: Yasmin Abubeker, DFID

One Group will explore Anaemia among patients with VL and haematological dynamics post treatment and aim to characterise the haematological parameters at baseline and during the initial treatment and in the ensuing follow-up period using individual participant data hosted at IDDO VL data platform.

The other will look at Host, parasite, and drug determinants of therapeutic responses. There is a marked regional heterogeneity in therapeutic response against antileishmanial therapies in VL. Single dose Liposomal Amphotericin B remains the current first line therapy in the Indian subcontinent due to the emergence and evolution of drug resistant parasites against pentavalent antinomy (PA). However, PA in combination with Paromomycin has demonstrated a high efficacy in Africa and continues to be used as a first line therapy. Such heterogeneity in therapeutic responses has been thought to arise due to regional differences in parasite sensitivity/susceptibility. The importance of host and drug parameters as a determinant of observed differences in clinical response demand further investigations.

Both Study Groups will be co-led by Dr Prabin Dahal and Dr Sauman Singh. Colleagues from the VL research community interested in joining the Study Groups should email for more information.

Prabin Dahal, one of the study co-leads remarked: “Individual participant data (IPD) meta-analysis is increasingly recognised as a gold-standard method for evidence synthesis. It allows a more thorough and flexible analysis to be undertaken that would otherwise not be possible through published aggregate data. For example, the number of relapses in any single trials are few. Pooling IPD from several studies would allow us to explore the host, parasite and drug determinants of relapses which can be used to inform optimal case management. These study groups are therefore a unique opportunity for the global VL community to answer some of the long standing questions related to disease and the drugs.“

VL, also known as kala-azar, is transmitted to humans through the bites from infected female phlebotomine sand flies. If left untreated, it is fatal in 95% of cases. Globally, it is estimated there are up to 22,000 new cases of VL each year which occur in Brazil, Ethiopia, India, Kenya, Somalia, South Sudan and Sudan.

IDDO is a scientifically independent, multi-disciplinary coalition of the global infectious disease community. It is unique among data-sharing initiatives in taking many different types of data and standardising these to create larger-scale datasets to enable global research collaborations to pose new scientific questions.