December 01, 2014

Research Roundup: Gates Foundation open access policy, Ebola vaccine market, World AIDS Day, and more

Marissa Chmiola
Communications Officer

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

In the spirit of the Thanksgiving holiday, GHTC’s communications officer Marissa Chmiola put together a list of ten global health advancements she’s thankful for this holiday season. The list includes advancements toward polio eradication, new Ebola treatments, vaccine candidates against hookworm, dengue fever, malaria, and much more.

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation announced a new policy that will require all research it funds to be published in a manner that is free for the public to access. Vox gives the lowdown on how this new policy could impact researchers. Since this Gates Foundation policy is in conflict with the practice of top scientific journals who charge access fees for their articles, Gates-funded scientists could have to stop publishing their articles in these top journals. On the other hand, it’s also possible that since the Gates Foundation funds so much research—spending US$900 million each year—these journals may have to change their policies or lose out on publishing potentially important research.

The New Yorker takes an in-depth look at how the growing global vaccine market is spurring companies to pursue development of an Ebola vaccine. According to the author, companies have realized that while vaccines can be more difficult to develop than prescription drugs, that difficulty can also be an asset because it is then harder for generic companies to produce copycat versions. While an Ebola vaccine likely won’t become a big money maker for pharmaceutical companies, with government and aid agencies offsetting some of the development costs, companies could break even on their investments and gain some positive publicity in the process.

This past week saw lots of great articles for World AIDS Day discussing progress on fighting HIV/AIDs. The International Partnership for Microbicides’ Chief Executive Officer Dr. Zeda Rosenberg discusses the need for new products such as microbicides which will help women protect themselves from HIV. AVAC’s Executive Director Mitchell Warren argues that more precision is needed in setting the prevention targets to meet UNAIDS five-year goal of reducing HIV infections by 500,000, including research into new prevention and treatment options.

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