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In this regular feature on Breakthroughs, we highlight some of the most interesting reads in global health research from the past week.

January 3, 2023 by Hannah Sachs-Wetstone

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The World Health Organization (WHO) recently added Indian company Hetero’s generic version of Paxlovid (Pfizer’s COVID-19 antiviral) to its prequalification list. Hetero also announced a licensing agreement with the Medicines Patent Pool to manufacture and sell the generic version in low- and middle-income countries. WHO’s inclusion will hopefully improve access for the drug, which the agency has strongly recommended for the treatment of high-risk patients with mild and moderate COVID-19, but which has been largely inaccessible to patients in low- and middle-income countries.

Recent findings published in the New England Journal of Medicine found that initial results from two phase 2 clinical trials showed that two vaccines (Ad26.ZEBOV (Ad26) followed by MVA-BN-Filo (MVA) 56 days later and rVSVΔG-ZEBOV-GP (rVSV)) given with or without a booster dose 56 days later) against the Zaire strain of Ebola virus are safe and well-tolerated in adults and children. Both vaccines produced antibody responses as soon as two weeks after administration of the first dose that lasted for at least a year. As part of the PREVAC study in West Africa, these trials aim to assess the safety and efficacy of different experimental vaccine regimens for Ebola Zaire vaccines in order to reduce the high mortality associated with Zaire outbreaks.

An innovative, new vaccine for HIV developed by the Scripps Research Institute in collaboration with the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center, the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative, and the US Institute of Allergies and Infectious Diseases, among others, has demonstrated promising results in its first immunogenicity trial in humans. In response to HIV exposure, the vaccine, called eOD-GT8, is designed to induce a type of broadly neutralizing antibodies that can block a specific part of the virus that is needed for it to enter certain cells. While extensive further research and many further challenges remain, the recent results do demonstrate the potential of a complex and innovative approach.

About the author

Hannah Sachs-WetstoneGHTC

Hannah supports advocacy and communications activities and member coordination for GHTC. Her role includes developing and disseminating digital communications, tracking member and policy news, engaging coalition members, and organizing meetings and events.Prior to joining GHTC, more about this author