Leprosy is a worldwide health problem, which needs the development of new and innovative strategies to be controlled. Early diagnosis of leprosy is an important contribution to reducing the incidence of the disease; thus, the development of biotechnology platforms, which include the mapping of antigens with potential to be used in immunodiagnostic and molecular methods for the detection of Mycobacterium leprae, is an important tool to confirm the clinical diagnostic. Molecular biology and biotechnological methods have been used to assist in the diagnosis of this disease, each one with its advantages and drawbacks. Enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) is the used method for leprosy diagnosis, and it allows the detection of infection-related antigens. Alternatively, due to their versatility to perform the same functions as the protein and non-protein natural antigens, mimetic peptides are considered an important tool. On the other hand, lateral flow assay (LFA) and optical and electrochemical biosensors are rapid and portable methods, capable of performing diagnosis in the field without sample preparation. This chapter presents such techniques, their uses in the diagnosis and detection of M. leprae, as well as the potential for the development of new techniques and strategies that can help to control and understand mycobacteriosis.
Part of the book: Hansen's Disease