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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.

August 28, 2023 by Hannah Sachs-Wetstone

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Last week, a landmark study published in The Lancet Infectious Diseases confirmed that the benefits of combining the RTS,S malaria vaccine with preventative antimalarial drugs in settings of high seasonable malaria transmission continue over five years. Specifically, the study found that the vaccine-drug combination reduced severe malaria cases and deaths in young children by nearly two-thirds compared to either RTS,S vaccination or seasonal malaria chemoprevention alone and that the efficacy of RTS,S in preventing malaria in highly seasonal settings was similar to seasonal malaria chemoprevention. These results underscore the importance of integrating multiple prevention tools into existing malaria control efforts to alleviate the remaining burden of malaria.

The US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced recipients for the first $1.4 billion round of funding for Project NextGen, the successor to Operation Warp Speed, which includes awards to develop more effective and longer-lasting COVID-19 vaccines, a new monoclonal antibody, and technologies to streamline manufacturing. Regeneron, the Global Health Investment Corporation, and Johnson & Johnson Innovation are among the first group of recipients. HHS said these awards are a catalyst to kick staff research and anticipates announcing additional awards for the $5 billion program by the end of the year.  

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) last week approved Abrysvo, Pfizer’s respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) vaccine for pregnant people, which is aimed at protecting newborns from the virus in their first six months of life. The announcement follows the agency’s approval of Abrysvo for adults 60 and older. The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is expected to recommend the vaccine soon, hopefully setting the country up for a healthier fall and winter season ahead with AstraZeneca and Sanofi’s Beyfortus RSV monoclonal antibody for infants also approved earlier this summer and updated COVID-19 shots expected in the coming weeks. 

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