BREAKTHROUGHS BLOG

June 22, 2014

Research Roundup: FY 2015 appropriations, the Human Vaccines Project, Global Development Lab legislation, new HIV treatments, and more

Senior Program Assistant
GHTC

In this regular feature on Breakthroughs, we highlight some of the most interesting reads in global health research from the past week.

As the DC summer kicks into full swing, Congress has had a busy month moving forward fiscal year (FY) 2015 funding legislation for a variety of government programs including global health research and development (R&D). Last week, both the House and Senate State and Foreign Operations (SFOPs) appropriations subcommittees held mark-ups of their draft bills. Unfortunately, the results were lukewarm for many global health R&D programs.

Sens. Cardin (D-MD), Boozman (R-AR), and Coons (D-DE), along with Reps. Castro (D-TX) and McCaul (R-TX) have introduced legislation to authorize the US Agency for International Development’s (USAID) Global Development Lab. The Lab would expand innovative public-private partnerships focused on ending extreme poverty.

A group of 35 leading scientists have come together to explore new strategies to accelerate vaccine development for deadly diseases such as malaria, HIV, tuberculosis. The scientists are part of a new initiative—called the Human Vaccines Project—aimed at paving a road map of the human immune system to help researchers speed up the development of vaccines for existing and emerging diseases.

SciDev.Net reports that despite the fact that the United Nations World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) Re:Search project has brokered at least 60 partnerships to facilitate patent sharing between owners and researchers since 2011, no new drugs or therapies are in development as of today. However, Thomas Bombelles—head of global health at WIPO—says the creation of partnerships is an important first step and that WIPO now has funding to build research capacity in low- and middle-income countries, as well as aid information flow.

USAID has released its report to Congress on its global health programs during FY 2013. The report describes the agency’s work to “end extreme poverty through its contributions in global health by ending preventable child and maternal deaths, creating an AIDS-free generation, and protecting communities from infectious diseases.”

Pharmaceutical companies GlaxoSmithKline and Johnson & Johnson will collaborate to develop a new HIV treatment that will require only a single pill. If the trials are successful, the new treatment could offer a less toxic alternative to the current therapies available to treat HIV.

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