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The Partnership for the Rapid Elimination of Trachoma (PRET) is a consortium of three, separate studies funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and led by researchers at Johns Hopkins University that will study ways to improve the treatment of trachoma towards the ultimate goal of eliminating the disease. The award from the Gates Foundation of $10 million is one of the largest single grants ever given to support trachoma.
What is trachoma?
Trachoma is the leading infectious cause of blindness worldwide and affects hundreds of millions of people in poor and rural regions. It is caused by ocular Chlamydia trachomatis, which is easily spread through contact with objects that have been in contact with an infected person, including hands and flies. The disease manifests gradually, eventually leading to blindness as the eyelashes turn inward and scratch the corneas due to repeated bouts with the disease.
The PRET Antibiotic Study
The PRET Antibiotic study is a five-year study to evaluate mass azithromycin treatment for trachoma in three countries with differing endemicity levels: Tanzania, The Gambia and Niger. The Principal Investigator is Sheila West, PhD. For additional information on the PRET Antibiotic study, please click here.
The PRET Ancillary Study
The PRET Ancillary study is a six-month study to determine the effect of a single mass administration of Azithromycin on community prevalence of malaria (Plasmodium falciparum) and relapsing fever, diarrheal diseases, acute respiratory illnesses and sexually transmitted infections (Chlamydia and gonorrhea). The Principal Investigator is Sheila West, PhD. For additional information on the PRET Ancillary study, please click here.
The PRET Surgical Study
The PRET Surgical study will evaluate whether a newly developed surgical instrument can reduce the rate of trichiasis recurrence as well as other undesirable outcomes following surgery. The Principal Investigator for this study is Emily Gower, PhD. For additional information on the PRET Surgical study, please click here.
The London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine
The Francis I. Proctor Foundation for Research Ophthalmology at University of California, San Francisco
The Dana Center for Preventative Ophthalmology at Johns Hopkins University
Pfizer, The World Health Organization (WHO), and the Trachoma Control Programs at the Ministries of Health in Tanzania, Niger, and The Gambia are also involved.