BREAKTHROUGHS BLOG

October 8, 2018

Research Roundup: Rotavirus vaccine receives WHO prequalification, mosquito repellent paint, and new health security partnership

Ansley Kahn
Program Assistant
GHTC
PATH/Wendy Stone

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Rotasiil, a first-of-its-kind thermostable vaccine to prevent rotavirus—the most common cause of severe diarrheal disease in children worldwide—has achieved prequalification from the World Health Organization. This status will allow United Nations agencies and other organizations to procure the vaccine at low-cost for use in low- and middle- income countries. Developed by the Serum Institute of India with clinical trial and licensure support from PATH, Rotasiil is an oral vaccine administered to infants in a three-dose course, which does not require refrigeration—making it easily distributable in places where power shortages and failures can disrupt the cold chain necessary to keep traditional vaccines viable. Rotasiil is the fourth rotavirus vaccine on the market, and the second developed by an Indian organization.

Japanese company Kansai Plascon has launched the world’s first mosquito repellent paint in Zambia. The paint technology, which has shown to be safe in humans, disrupts the nervous system of a mosquito upon contact, reducing its ability to remain on walls where the paint has been applied. “The knock-down effect lasts for up to two years, offering lasting protection from malaria infection and other mosquito-borne diseases,” Kansai said. Mosquito repellent paint offers a new tool in the arsenal to fight malaria—one of the world’s deadliest diseases—alongside other anti-malarial measures such as bednets, prophylactics, and insecticide spraying.

The Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR) and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) has launched a new partnership to strengthen the health security of the United States by focusing on the research, development, and deployment of medical countermeasures and advanced technologies to combat these threats. ASPR and DARPA will focus on two initial areas of collaboration—bacterial pathogens to combat microbial threats and the discovery of molecular biomarkers. ASPR’s Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA) and DARPA will conduct preclinical and clinical trials of a new type of therapeutic for antibiotic resistant bacteria with an aim to develop a product that mitigates the effects of multidrug-resistant infections. BARDA and DARPA will also focus on discovering and validating biomarkers—which define a person’s exposure to a virus before the person shows symptoms of infection—and developing tests that can identify infected patients quickly to help contain disease outbreaks. Through the partnership, ASPR and DARPA will increase collaboration and share data—maximizing the impact and investment of both agencies.

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