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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.

February 20, 2023 by Hannah Sachs-Wetstone

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Last week, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced that it is slowing down Emergency Use Authorizations (EUAs) of new in vitro diagnostics for COVID-19 and Mpox. The agency will continue reviewing tests that have already been submitted for authorization and is expected to review only some additional tests from experienced developers that use innovative technological approaches, fill a gap in need, or demonstrate potential for wide public health benefits. Instead, the agency is encouraging most developers to submit their tests through different review processes. Despite the end of the national emergency declaration for the COVID-19 pandemic on May 11, the 440 EUAs already granted will remain in effect as long as a separate agency-level EUA declaration determined by FDA continues.

The World Health Organization (WHO) convened an emergency meeting of the Marburg virus vaccine consortium following the confirmation of the first-ever Marburg outbreak in Equatorial Guinea. During the meeting, five vaccine developers shared updates on their vaccine candidates for the disease. WHO is taking steps toward pursuing a real-time clinical trial for some of the candidates in alignment with the already-approved WHO clinical trial protocol for Marburg vaccines (which needs to be adapted to the country context) and in consultation with country officials. Sabin Vaccine Institute and Janssen’s candidates are in phase 1 clinical trials, while IAVI, Public Health Vaccines, and Auro Vaccines’ candidates are still in the pre-clinical development stage.

A new study published last week found that a drug tested in mice could potentially be used as a birth control option for men. If successful in further trials, the drug would work as an on-demand contraceptive compared to other male contraceptives in the pipeline, like daily pills and gels, that researchers say are more complicated, time-consuming, and long-lasting. The drug works by preventing a molecular action from turning sperm “on” and activating them to pursue an egg. The researchers have founded a new company to move forward development of the drug but note it will likely be years before it is ready for testing in men.

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