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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 9, 2023 by Hannah Sachs-Wetstone

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The AMR Action Fund has announced its second investment, this one of $US7.5 million in European biotech company BioVerys, which is developing an antibiotic (about to enter phase 2 trials), to combat hospital-acquired pneumonia, pneumonia associated with ventilators, and blood stream infections originating from pneumonia. The investment underlines the fund’s role in filling massive gaps in the need for new antibiotics to address the growing challenge of antimicrobial resistance (AMR). The fund, which was created by several of the world’s largest drug companies, works as a venture capital fund with the goal of generating four new antibiotics over ten years. It first invested last year in two small American biotech companies also working towards therapies that can address drug-resistant infections.

The Pan American Health Organization has confirmed that vaccine-derived poliovirus type 2 has been detected in wastewater samples in Canada, joining the United States, the United Kingdom and Israel as high-income countries that have detected the virus in wastewater. The Canadian National Microbiology Laboratory, which detected the virus through retrospective wastewater tests, will test archived samples from September and October 2022 through the end of February 2023 to obtain more details about the spread of the virus. This news comes as a reminder that as we enter 2023, new polioviruses, including vaccine-derived poliovirus type 2, continue to emerge around the world.

In the midst of China’s severe COVID-19 outbreak, the World Health Organization’s (WHO’s) Director General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus is expressing concern about possible underreporting and underrepresenting of data, and urging the country to use all available COVID-19 vaccines, including mRNA vaccines that have been shown to be more effective than Chinese-made COVID-19 vaccines. This concern comes following the release of a report by WHO’s Technical Advisory Group on Virus Evolution that found, through working with the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, there have been no new variants circulating in the country. Full and transparent data sharing on cases, deaths, hospitalizations, and comprehensive, real-time viral sequencing are essential for WHO’s efforts to carry out risk assessments for China and around the world, as well as to understand the evolution of SARS-CoV-2 and the emergence of mutations of variants of concern.

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