Improved animal models are urgently required for drug and vaccine development against visceral leishmaniasis. Here we report refinements to the hamster model of infection that reduce the severity of the disease as well as the number of animals required to maintain infection while improving parasite yields. A comparison between infection via the intracardiac and intraperitoneal routes showed that the less commonly used intraperitoneal route is the simpler and preferred method. The KAtex latex agglutination test for visceral leishmaniasis accurately detected Leishmania donovani antigen in hamster urine as early as 6 weeks post-inoculation. With modification, this assay could be an important tool in the evaluation of experimental drugs and vaccines.
- Animal model
- Leishmania donovani