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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.

November 6, 2023 by Hannah Sachs-Wetstone

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Last Wednesday, the Global Antibiotic Research and Development Partnership (GARDP) announced the results of a successful phase 3 trial, conducted in collaboration with Innoviva Specialty Therapeutics and supported by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, which found that a single dose of a first-in-class oral antibiotic, zoliflodacin, was as safe and effective as standard therapy for treating uncomplicated urogenital gonorrhea. The growing resistance of the gonorrhea bacteria to many classes of antibiotics has left only one remaining globally recommended treatment available as an option. Zoliflodacin, if approved, could not only help address those rising cases because studies have shown that it is active against multi-drug resistant gonorrhea strains, but the antibiotic will also simplify treatment because it is one pill rather than an injection and a pill like the current standard therapy. 

Last week, the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) and the University of Oxford announced the launch of a new project to develop prototype vaccines against an arenavirus called Junin virus, which causes Argentine hemorrhagic fever. The project is aimed at kickstarting the broader development of vaccines for arenaviruses, which include the virus that causes Lassa fever, one of CEPI’s priority pathogens. CEPI will invest $25 million in the development of early prototypes of viral vector and mRNA vaccines against the Junin virus, as well as the improvement of the ChAdOx viral vector technology, part of the broader partnership between CEPI and Oxford to support vaccine development for a variety of viral families with future epidemic or pandemic potential. 

In a recent study, researchers have identified a new molecule in cells that is necessary for the Ebola and Marburg viruses to infect and spread in the body and that is also involved in SARS-CoV-2 infections. This discovery could eventually lead to new antiviral drugs for Ebola and Marburg, among other viral infections. The molecular, CCZ1, is a protein that regulates the transport of other molecules by cells. Researchers from the Karolinska Institutet and Institute of Molecular Biotechnology used advanced stem cell libraries and lab-grown organs to study how viruses infect the human liver and blood vessels and ultimately demonstrate how CCZ1 operates as a key factor in their spread through the body. 

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