Pioneering HARP Database Launches: Improves Outcomes for People Affected by Leprosy by Informing Impacts of Mutations on Drug Resistance

Nov 23, 2020

(Greenville, S.C., 23 November 2020) – American Leprosy Missions and the Blundell Group Laboratory at the University of Cambridge are proud to announce the launch of the HARP (Hansen’s disease Antimicrobial Resistance Profiles) database. This online database catalogs all possible mutations in three important drug target proteins of Mycobacterium leprae and their interactions with drugs in the multi-drug therapy (MDT) used to cure leprosy.

In order for treatments to remain effective, they must adapt and respond to disease mutations or drug resistance. To that end, the HARP database has recorded structural impacts of 80,902 possible mutations, including 3D models of protein-drug interactions, for clinicians and scientists to visualize the implications of mutating Mycobacterium leprae proteins on drug-resistance outcomes.

Until now, experimental validation would take up to 14 months to determine if a mutation in a drug target gene could cause drug resistance in leprosy. With HARP, leprosy research labs worldwide can process DNA sequence results, detect mutations and understand the potential impacts of those mutations in just a few seconds. This critical information can then be used in research to improve treatment and outcomes for people affected by leprosy.

HARP also provides important information on the impacts of drug resistance mutations that can help leprosy scientists to design appropriate studies to combat antimicrobial resistance in leprosy.

For more information, visit the HARP database at or read the article, HARP, a database of structural impacts of systematic missense mutations in drug targets of Mycobacterium leprae in the Computational and Structural Biotechnology Journal (IF 6.018).

Praise for HARP

“HARP is a user-friendly database to analyze and understand drug resistance in leprosy. It’s an easy tool for screening drug resistance causing mutations in leprosy and aids in identifying the mutation numbering correctly.”

  • Madhusmita Das, research scientist at The Schieffelin Institute of Health Research and Leprosy Center in Karigiri, India

“HARP database is a very useful and timely development to aid in leprosy research as it provides crucial information on the impacts of mutations on protein structure and function. It has detailed information on mutation effects for the three most important drugs’ (dapsone, rifampicin and ofloxacin) targets for leprosy which will definitely aid in designing leprosy treatment and control.”

  • Dr. Sony Malhotra, postdoctoral researcher at Birkbeck, University of London in London, England


About American Leprosy Missions

American Leprosy Missions, based in Greenville, South Carolina, is the oldest and largest Christian organization in the United States dedicated to curing and caring for people affected by leprosy and related diseases. It currently supports projects, programs and partners in countries across Africa, Asia and the Americas. Since its founding in 1906, American Leprosy Missions has provided holistic care to more than four million people around the world including medical treatment and training, disease mapping and management, community development and research.

For Additional Information

Sarah Hesshaus, Vice President of Business Process and Communications
864.241.1731 | [email protected]