Objective: To implement a proof-of-concept study for the development of a new oral treatment regimen for visceral leishmaniasis together with a new antigen based rapid diagnostic test, low-invasive biomarkers, and test-of-cure assays as well as using digital technologies and artificial intelligence to improve parasitological diagnosis and quality control.

Project start: 2021

VL-INNO is a three-year project that embraces the use of innovation in diagnosis and discovery of new safe oral drugs to tackle current treatment challenges for visceral leishmaniasis in Eastern Africa. Current visceral leishmaniasis treatments in the region consist of painful injections that are costly, taken over a long period of time, and can be toxic. DNDi has been working with partners to improve the safety and efficacy of the treatments that can be used by both children and adults and can be integrated in primary healthcare.

The VL-INNO project aims to:

  • Develop new oral efficacious and safe treatments for visceral leishmaniasis in eastern Africa in combination with the use of biomarkers to assess and predict treatment response
  • Improve parasitological diagnosis and remote quality control using digital technologies
  • Develop an antigen detection rapid diagnostic test

The VL-INNO consortium that will implement the project is comprised of leading universities and research institutions from eastern Africa, European research institutions with a strong track record in field-based research, well-respected not-for-profit product development partnerships specialized in R&D for neglected diseases and innovative small and medium enterprises.

The consortium is not only R&D focused but intends to create exchange platforms geared towards a test and treat integrated approach, owned and led by affected endemic countries.


This project (grant RIA2020I-3290) is part of the European and Developing Countries Clinical Trials Partnership Association (EDCTP2) programme supported by the European Union.

EDCTP logo
Supported by the European Union

Other funding:

MSF International logo
Swiss Agency for Development Cooperation logo
UK International Development logo
Norwegian Government logo