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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.

March 6, 2023 by Hannah Sachs-Wetstone

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Last week, a US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) advisory panel recommended approval of two vaccines for respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) for adults 60 and older, one by Pfizer and one by GlaxoSmithKline. The agency could grant formal approval to the vaccines in the coming months, making them the first shots available against RSV, a disease responsible for significant deaths and hospitalizations among older adults and young children. Other vaccines, as well as monoclonal antibody treatments, also in the pipeline could additionally address the yearly burden of RSV.

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued a warning about a rise in extensively drug-resistant cases of Shigella, especially in gay and bisexual men, in the United States and other countries. Shigella is a highly infectious bacterial infection that causes an inflammatory diarrheal condition and is spread when infected fecal matter enters the mouth or nose. The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control also released an alert about possible cases among recent travelers. Doctors have faced major challenges in identifying viable alternative antibiotics to treat these cases, underlining the need for greater focus on the research and development of new antibiotics.

This year’s Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections saw a myriad of presentations on how best to expand global access to the cabotegravir, or CAB-LA, which is a long acting, injectable form of preexposure prophylaxis (PrEP) used to prevent HIV infection. CAB-LA joins oral PrEP and the recently approved dapivirine vaginal ring as a third safe and effective biomedical HIV prevention option, for the first time allowing people an authentic choice among products. However, to ensure access and availability of these products, there remains a need for additional research on the use of CAB-LA in certain patient populations, including among people who inject drugs, and further research on effective delivery methods to expand uptake of oral PrEP.

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