Leprosy in the Armadillo: New Model for Biomedical Research

Science  01 Mar 1974:
Vol. 183, Issue 4127, pp. 851-852
DOI: 10.1126/science.183.4127.851


Eight of twenty armadillos (Dasypus novemcinctus L.) developed severe lepromatous leprosy 3 to 3.5 years after inoculation with viable Mycobacterium leprae. A total of 988 grams of lepromas containing an estimated 15 to 20 grams of leprosy bacilli has been harvested from these animals. The large amounts of material now available will permit in-depth studies of the biochemistry and metabolism of the leprosy bacillus, and the animal model should make possible definitive studies on the immunology, chemotherapy, and epidemiology of the disease.