For all neglected tropical diseases, the need for improved diagnostics comes into much sharper focus as infection prevalence declines and elimination becomes a possibility. COR-NTD diagnostics research focuses on neglected tropical diseases amenable to preventive chemotherapy, or PC-NTDs. For diseases targeted by mass drug administration, programs need tests to provide data to guide programmatic decisions on the transition from mass treatment to targeted or no treatment, and then for some, verification of transmission elimination. Programmatic decisions on when to stop mass drug administration are based on surveys to document that infection levels have been reduced below a given threshold, using clinical, parasitologic, or serologic measures.
While the operational research supported by COR-NTD does not focus on test development as a specific goal, testing and validating new tools to support program decision making is an important and overarching objective. COR-NTD supports field evaluations of both newly developed or improved rapid diagnostic tests, as well as laboratory diagnostics designed to improve the effectiveness of program decision making. This work will not only inform efforts of organizations collaborating to develop and commercialize new tools, but it will also support the World Health Organization (WHO) and ministries of health to achieve control and elimination targets.