Anna Kovacevich is a senior program assistant at GHTC who supports GHTC's communications and member engagement activities.
Research Roundup: A preventative antibody for malaria, fractional monkeypox vaccine doses, and a TB vaccine candidate
In this regular feature on Breakthroughs, we highlight some of the most interesting reads in global health research from the past week.
A novel antibody treatment designed to prevent malaria was able to protect against infection in a majority of participants in a phase 1 trial, according to results published last week. The method utilizes a monoclonal antibody, dubbed L9LS, that is optimized to target a protein used by the malaria parasite to infect hosts. The recent trial tested three different doses of the antibody treatment, administered either intravenously or subcutaneously, among 17 healthy volunteers. All participants were then exposed to malaria-carrying mosquitos, and just two participants developed malaria in the weeks following. The results provide proof of principle for a next-generation monoclonal antibody, researchers say, suggesting it could be an important tool in eradicating malaria when used in combination with effective vaccines and other prevention measures.
The US National Institutes of Health is preparing to launch a clinical trial evaluating methods to stretch doses of Jynneos, the only vaccine approved for use against monkeypox in the United States. Researchers will study two adjusted regimens in comparison to the current method, which involves two full doses given 28 days apart. One test group will receive a single dose of the vaccine, and another group will receive two doses, given 28 days apart, that are each one-fifth of a full dose and administered intradermally—or into the skin, rather than under the skin—which has potential to activate powerful immune responses. The study will test whether the dose-sparing approaches generate antibody levels similar to those of the full, two-dose regimen, as well as compare the tolerability and reactogenicity of the two different routes. Results are expected toward the end of 2022.
A clinical trial in South Africa has shown that a new vaccine candidate for tuberculosis (TB) is safe for newborns and has fewer side effects than the existing TB vaccine, Bacillus Calmette Guérin (BCG). The experimental vaccine, VPM1002, was developed by genetically modifying the attenuated BCG vaccine strain so that immune cells better recognize the pathogens, in an effort to increase safety and improve efficacy for immunocompromised children. The phase 2 trial compared VPM1002 with BCG in HIV-exposed and non-HIV-exposed newborns and examined the associated safety and immune response, ultimately finding the vaccine candidate safe in both groups of newborns, with fewer side effects than BCG as well as a similar immune response. Researchers plan to continue to evaluate the vaccine among newborns, including its ability to protect against infection, in a phase 3 trial.