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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.

April 4, 2022 by Anna Kovacevich

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On Thursday, the World Health Organization launched a new global initiative to combat arboviruses—fast-growing and poorly understood viral diseases carried by insects that have future pandemic potential. The Global Arbovirus Initiative aims to tackle diseases like dengue, yellow fever, chikungunya, and Zika, which currently have limited effective treatments and vaccines. The initiative will better link the various research, surveillance, and vector control efforts around the world in a more formal network of collaboration. Research innovation and partnerships are also key to the new strategy, which is the culmination of a series of consultations among a broad network of partners to enable efficient and successful collaboration across a range of pathogens and disciplines and ensure a more integrated approach to this family of viruses.

The US Food and Drug Administration on Tuesday approved HIV treatment Cabenuva for adolescents, the first long-acting injectable regimen for the age group. The treatment, which includes shots of cabotegravir and rilpivirine, was approved for adults last year as a monthly regimen and more recently as a bimonthly regimen, meaning it can be administered as few as six times per year. Both timing options will now be available to virologically suppressed adolescents aged 12 years or older who weigh at least 35 kg, are on a stable antiretroviral therapy regimen, and have no history of treatment failure or resistance to either drug. The approval for adolescents is supported by evidence from studies conducted among adults as well as from interim analysis of an ongoing trial among adolescents.

Ahead of a World Health Assembly (WHA) meeting in May, the United Kingdom is circulating a resolution to improve the quality of clinical trials by boosting funding, adding more trial sites, and fully reporting study results. The proposal, which comes amid increased concerns about meeting global health needs in the wake of COVID-19, promotes steps to generate “high-quality research” that can help develop medical products to provide routine care, especially in lower- and middle-income countries, for any global health priority. These steps include coordinating research, ensuring funding, and creating mechanisms to register trials and report results. If the resolution proceeds after member state debate, revisions are expected between now and the WHA session in early May.

About the author

Anna KovacevichGHTC

Anna Kovacevich is a senior program assistant at GHTC who supports GHTC's communications and member engagement activities.