This year has seen momentous changes in the global health care system, due to the pandemic, which will have long-term implications – not least on the ways in which medical research is planned, conducted and communicated. Leprosy Review has also undergone a major upheaval this year, with several staff changes and a complete revision of its editorial structure and its online presence, which has illustrated the complexity of the linkages behind online documentation.
Fortunately, in both cases, there is light at the end of the tunnel, with effective vaccines against SARS-CoV-2 now on the horizon, and many of the initial glitches in Leprosy Review’s online platform being at least on a path to resolution. We thank both authors and reviewers for their patience in working with us through some of these problems.
Two Short Reports on the COVID-19 situation appear at the end of this issue, from working groups set up by the Global Partnership for Zero Leprosy (GPZL). The first looks at operational issues facing programs during the pandemic, while the second looks at the experiences of people with leprosy, as both the health services and everyday lives were disrupted in many different ways.
The first paper in this issue looks at gender perspectives, and is a timely reminder of the necessity to think and write inclusively. We publish a number of papers on perceptions (regarding post-exposure prophylaxis) and attitudes (towards new diagnostic tests), which will be important as policies around all aspects of prevention are developed.
An interesting paper from India shows the value of cosmetic camouflage in leprosy, having been used for a long time for people with vitiligo; this illustrates the value of looking for possible solutions in parallel branches of medicine.
Footwear is an important topic and we are all interested in ways to provide shoes that will help to prevent ulcers, at low cost. Govindasamy et al. present findings from their work on computer-aided design and manufacture of customized insoles, which was initially supported by Google India.
Three papers report laboratory studies on different components of the body’s response to infection by M leprae. These may lead to a better understanding of the pathophysiology of the disease, the possibility of new markers of infection or indicators of impending reactions, and the possibility of new treatments.