Anna Kovacevich is a senior program assistant at GHTC who supports GHTC's communications and member engagement activities.
Research Roundup: Global plan to end TB, 'all-in-one' coronavirus vaccine, and innovation for NTDs
In this regular feature on Breakthroughs, we highlight some of the most interesting reads in global health research from the past week.
On Wednesday, the Stop TB Partnership launched a new global plan to end tuberculosis (TB) by 2030. The plan requires a total of $250 billion in funding, $40.2 billion of which would go toward accelerating the research and development of new TB diagnostics, medicines, and vaccines—including a specific goal of developing a new TB vaccine by 2025. There is currently only one licensed TB vaccine, which was approved more than 100 years ago and has limited benefit in adult populations. Several promising candidates are in clinical trials, including four in advanced stages of development, making it possible to have a new TB vaccine by 2025—if sufficient funding and political will is present to push things forward.
A new, “all-in-one” vaccine showed early promise in protecting against a variety of coronaviruses, including COVID-19, SARS, and MERS, according to preclinical study results published last week. The mosaic-8 vaccine was able to train immune systems to recognize eight viruses at once in animal studies, demonstrating proof of concept for its ability to block a range of betacoronaviruses—the subgroup containing the virus that causes COVID-19. The Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) has pledged $30 million to begin clinical trials of the experimental vaccine in humans. The phase 1 trial will take place at Oxford University, which collaborated with the California Institute of Technology to develop the vaccine, and will likely take at least a year.
Advances in science, in conjunction with rising investment in research, have led to the development of promising new treatment candidates for several neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) in recent years—though little progress has been made on the NTD subset of parasitic worm diseases. In a new study published last week, researchers outline these NTD research trends, noting that despite a long-standing lack of innovation in drugs for neglected diseases, partnerships between public, private, and nonprofit entities have enabled major progress in developing treatments for several target NTDs like leishmaniasis, Chagas disease, and sleeping sickness. This same progress has not been seen, however, among parasitic worm diseases like schistosomiasis, as research is often left at early stages. Bolstered drug discovery efforts focused on these diseases are needed in order to combat their high global prevalence, the researchers conclude.