Visceral leishmaniasis is a serious public health problem on the Indian subcontinent, causing high morbidity and mortality. The governments in the region launched a visceral leishmaniasis elimination initiative in 2005. We review knowledge gaps and research priorities. Key challenges include low coverage of health services for those most at risk, drug resistance, the absence of a vaccine, and the complex biology of the sandfly-human host transmission cycle. Vector control is an essential component, but innovation in this field is insufficient. Substantial progress has been made in the area of diagnostic, therapeutic, and vaccine development, but there are still many hurdles to overcome. For visceral leishmaniasis elimination to become a reality, effective deployment of these existing and new tools is essential. A strong commitment at community level is imperative, and appropriate diagnostic and treatment services as well as effective epidemiological surveillance need to be ensured.
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