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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.

June 24, 2024 by Hannah Sachs-Wetstone

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Last week, Gilead Sciences shared results from a late-stage study showing that its long-acting injectable HIV prevention drug, lenacapavir, was more effective at preventing HIV infection in cisgender women and adolescent girls compared to the company’s daily pill, Truvada. The study, which included more than 5,300 cisgender women and adolescent girls, was stopped early by an independent committee because the results exceeded efficacy expectations, with no incidences of HIV infection among participants who received the drug compared to those who were not on any prevention regimen. Truvada is already in wide use for both HIV treatment and prevention, but the twice-a-year lenacapavir injection, which could be approved for HIV prevention regimens by the end of next year, offers an option that could be much easier to adhere to than the daily pill for many people, especially higher-risk individuals.

In Paris last week, as part of the replenishment launch for Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, the African Vaccine Manufacturing Accelerator was launched, a project Gavi will invest $1 billion into over the next decade to help increase Africa’s vaccine manufacturing base to accelerate the rollout of vaccines and improve pandemic preparedness on the continent. This project follows glaring inequities in access to COVID-19 technologies faced by African countries during the pandemic. Specifically, Gavi will provide financial incentives to African vaccine manufacturers once they hit supply and regulatory milestones, using market forces to drive down prices and encourage upstream investment. The project set the goal for Africa countries to produce 60 percent of the vaccines used by the continent by 2040, up from 2 percent currently. It will also explore issues including technology transfer and regulatory harmonization.

Elion Therapeutics recently announced the close of an $81 million funding round to advance the development of its next-generation polyene antifungal candidate, SF001, designed to reduce toxicity and address critical challenges associated with currently available antifungal options. The news comes as growing resistance to existing antifungals and increasing fungal infection rates highlight the need for new and improved tools. The promising compound received Qualified Infectious Disease Product and Fast Track designations in 2023 from the US Food and Drug Administration for early antifungal therapy of presumed invasive fungal infection and treatment of invasive aspergillosis. The funding round includes investments from the public-private partnership AMR Action Fund, the fund’s first investment in an antifungal company.

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