Trachoma is the most common cause of preventable blindness in the world. It is caused by eye infection by the bacterium Chlamydia trachomatis. The disease is associated with poor hygiene and infrastructure. Trachoma only affects sexually inactive patients, such as children up to 9 years old. After this age, C. trachomatis infections are considered STDs, even if the infection is ocular, because the bacteria can also infect the urogenital tract and be transferred to the eyes. Currently, the diagnosis is made through clinical evaluation or direct immunofluorescence, and both methods lack the necessary specificity/sensitivity.
The project began in December 2015 with the collection of samples on the Island of Marajó (Pará) by the researchers of the Evandro Chagas Institute and with the design of new oligonucleotides at the Molecular Biology Institute of Paraná (IBMP). It sought to develop a method for the detection of Chlamydia trachomatis bacterium that is more specific and sensitive than the currently available methods, and that is appropriate for Brazilian reality.
In 2019, the prototype was finished and used as an auxiliary diagnostic tool by the National Trachoma Survey, an initiative led by the Coordination of Leprosy and Diseases in Elimination (CGLAB/MS).
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