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Annemiek Geluk
Anouk van Hooij
Louise Pierneef
Zijie Zhou
Els Verhard
Hamza Khalid
Matheus Almeida
Gaby Wassenaar



Characteristic for leprosy is its unique disease spectrum, reflecting the vast inter-individual variability in clinical manifestations which accurately parallel the hosts’ abilities to mount effective immunity to the bacterium. Current diagnosis of leprosy is clinical and includes invasive methods to detect the bacterium. Our goal is to translate knowledge on host immune responses to M. leprae obtained via basic immunological research, to diagnostic tests. Our approach includes studying (the function of) multiple host proteins, obtained through exploratory, high throughput screening methods as well as functional assays, for their potential to discriminate   leprosy patients from exposed individuals coping with the infection. Detecting immune responses against M. leprae using multibiomarker tests (MBT), can be applied for various use-cases besides diagnosis of disease, such as monitoring of (postexposure prophylaxis) treatment, population screening for transmission and prediction of disease.


Through our strong links with leprosy clinicians at the ErasmusMC, Rotterdam, our research in leprosy diagnostics forms the research pilar in the NFU - Leprosy Expertise Centre.


Besides exploring diagnostic methods for leprosy we also focus on education in this field. More detailed information on diagnostics of leprosy can be found in Webinar on Leprosy Diagnostics and The International Textbook of Leprosy.

Annemiek Geluk

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Free copy of the international textbook of Leprosy

Click here for the Review on Immunodiagnostics for Leprosy



TB remains one of the most lethal infectious diseases worldwide. Early diagnosis of TB is crucial to reduce transmission but impeded by current diagnostics that rely on costly and time-consuming detection the pathogen (Mtb) in sputum by specially trained staff. Moreover, diagnostic services for TB are not sufficiently accessible in low-resource settings, where most cases occur.  To combat TB, our research focusses on the development of TB Triage tests based on host serum biomarkers instead of sputum. Availability of such tests would not only help control transmission, but significantly accelerate diagnostic approaches and decrease costly referrals.

Annemiek Geluk

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Development of POC diagnostic tests

For both TB and leprosy, point-of-care (POC) tests are urgently required particularly for application in endemic, low-resource settings. Such tests thus need to be user- and field-friendly.

Within a long standing collaboration with the Corstjens Lab at the Dept. CCB we have developed and field-evaluated immunodiagnostic tests that allow quantitative point of care (POC) measurement of host proteins (cytokines, chemokines and antibodies) in single or multiplex format. These rapid tests accommodate detection of biomarker signatures for TB or leprosy in serum, stimulated whole blood, pleural fluid, saliva and fingerstick blood.. Development of these immunodiagnostic tests involves collaborations with research- and clinical institutes and field sites around the globe to ensure worldwide diagnostic applicability.

Annemiek Geluk

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Diagnostic service for Leprosy

Besides performing research, our group functions as a national reference center for routine diagnostic screening for M. leprae infection (serological and microbiological) and provides this service also to other European countries and the Antilles:

RIVM info Leprosy diagnostics

LCI guideline Leprosy

LUMC Lepra Diagnostiek

Annemiek Geluk

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