Persisting Mycobacterium leprae among THELEP trial patients in Bamako and Chingleput

M. J. Colston., G. A. Ellard, C. A.P. Ferracci, J. H. Grosset, G. Grossetete, C. G.S. Iyer, R. R. Jacobson, J. Baohong, K. Lwin, D. L. Leiker, L. Levy, S. K. Noordeen, S. R. Pattyn, J. M.H. Pearson, J. W. Rees, H. Sansarricq, P. S. Seshadri, J. K. Seydel, C. C. Shepard, M. F.R. Waters

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


The availability of approximately 75% of the anticipated results with respect to persisting Mycobacterium leprae from the THELEP controlled clinical trials in Bamako and Chingleput has made possible an interim analysis. Persisting M. leprae were detected in 43 skin-biopsy specimens obtained from 39 patients, among a total of 468 specimens obtained at intervals of 3, 12 and 24 months from 199 patients during treatment with five combined drug regimens. The proportion of specimens in which persisting organisms were discovered appeared not to vary with regimen or duration of treatment. The regimen consisting of a single large initial dose of rifampicin plus daily dapsone was not shown to be less effective, in terms of the proportion of specimens in which persisters were detected, than regimens consisting of rifampicin, dapsone and clofazimine or prothionamide, each drug administered daily. The average number of persisting M. leprae per patient was calculated to lie in the range 50,000-250,000 at each of the intervals. The results of these trials lend strong support to the multidrug regimen recommended for treatment of multibacillary leprosy by the World Health Organization Study Group on Chemotherapy of Leprosy for Control Programmes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)325-337
Number of pages13
JournalLeprosy review
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1987
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Dermatology
  • Infectious Diseases


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