Neglected tropical disease (NTD) diagnostics: current development and operations to advance control.
Neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) have become important public health threats that require multi-faceted control interventions. As late treatment and management of NTDs contribute significantly to the associated burdens, early diagnosis becomes an important component for surveillance and planning effective interventions. This review identifies common NTDs and highlights the progress in the development of diagnostics for these NTDs. Leveraging existing technologies to improve NTD diagnosis and improving current operational approaches for deployment of developed diagnostics are crucial to achieving the 2030 NTD elimination target. Point-of-care NTD (POC-NTD) diagnostic tools are recommended preferred diagnostic options in resource-constrained areas for mapping risk zones and monitoring treatment efficacy. However, few are currently available commercially. Technical training of remote health care workers on the use of POC-NTD diagnostics, and training of health workers on the psychosocial consequences of these diagnostics are critical in harnessing POC-NTD diagnostic potential. While the COVID-19 pandemic has challenged the possibility of achieving NTD elimination in 2030 due to the disruption of healthcare services and dwindling financial support for NTDs, the possible contribution of NTDs in exacerbating COVID-19 pandemic should motivate NTD health system strengthening.