Research Roundup: Adapted TB treatment regimen reduces side effects, new partnership to help eliminate malaria, COVAX launches marketplace to boost production
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An adapted version of an existing treatment regimen to combat highly drug-resistant tuberculosis (TB) maintains efficacy against the disease and reduces side effects, according to results from the ZeNix trial announced last week. The ZeNix study, led by TB Alliance, is a follow-up to the Nix-TB trial, which published results last year showing 89 percent of participants were cured of TB when treated for six months with a combination of bedaquiline, pretomanid, and linezolid—known as the BPaL regimen. ZeNix evaluated the same regimen among 181 people with cases of highly drug-resistant TB in South Africa, Russia, Georgia, and Moldova, but varied the doses and durations of the use of linezolid. Results showed significantly reducing doses and duration of linezolid can have the same levels of efficacy in addition to reducing the side effects significantly.
A new partnership will aim to help endemic countries eliminate Plasmodium vivax malaria, a complex and persistent type of malaria that poses a risk to more than one-third of the world’s population. The Partnership For Vivax Elimination (PAVE), led by the Medicines for Malaria Venture and PATH, will conduct feasibility studies to evaluate the best treatment options for P. vivax relapse in diverse populations and settings. The partnership will scale up the single-dose treatment tafenoquine as well as a higher dose of a second drug, primaquine, that cuts treatment time to seven days compared to the 14-day regimen currently in use. PAVE will also generate and consolidate evidence to support malaria-endemic countries in developing and implementing new strategies for P. vivax malaria.
The COVAX vaccine-sharing facility is launching a marketplace to address supply chain bottlenecks and accelerate the global production of COVID-19 vaccine doses. The platform will match vaccine manufacturers with suppliers of key inputs to boost production of vaccines for equitable distribution through COVAX. The marketplace will initially focus on six critical areas where there have been shortages, including bioreactor bags, lipids, and vials, but could eventually facilitate supplies for other lifesaving medicines and vaccines hit by global shortages, according to the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations, which will facilitate the initiative. COVAX aims to make 2 billion vaccine doses available by the end of the year, but so far has only delivered 118 million vaccines to 135 countries.