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Leprosy: what is new.


Leprosy, also known as Hansen's disease, is an age-old chronic granulomatous infection characterized by prominent cutaneous and neurologic findings. Long known to be caused by Mycobacterium leprae, a new etiologic species was identified and linked in 2008, Mycobacterium lepromatosis. The BCG vaccine with highly variable efficacy may soon be replaced by the first leprosy-specific subunit vaccine LepVax, which has recently moved forward in human trials. Recent evidence supporting theories of zoonotic transmission from armadillos and the less-discussed Eurasian red squirrels has emerged. Knowledge on genetic polymorphisms that may increase leprosy susceptibility, such as the newly uncovered mitochondrial ribosomal protein S5 (MRPS5) polymorphism in the Chinese population, has provided a fresh perspective and direction. Further, we will delineate the latest information on leprosy, including the possible effects of leprosy coinfection with COVID-19, HIV, and HTLV-1, and the shift to newer leprosy therapies and treatment regimens.

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Journal Article
Randhawa A
Kapila R
Schwartz R