October 14, 2014

Research Roundup: hookworm vaccine trial, Grand Challenges turns ten, NIH funding for Ebola and more

Senior Program Assistant

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

The first vaccine against hookworm has been shown to be safe in clinical trials in Brazil, according to researchers from the Sabin Vaccine Institute Product Development Partnership who led the trial. The vaccine—which was developed by the HOOKVAC consortium—was well tolerated by 102 healthy volunteers, and blood tests indicated they developed an immune response.

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s Grand Challenges in Global Health program celebrated its 10th anniversary recently. The Economist takes a look at the past ten years and discusses the program’s successes, disappointments, and what its future holds.

In an interview with the Huffington Post, Dr. Francis Collins—director of the National Institutes of Health— said that a vaccine for Ebola would likely have been discovered were it not for budget cuts experienced by the agency. "Frankly, if we had not gone through our 10-year slide in research support, we probably would have had a vaccine in time for this that would've gone through clinical trials and would have been ready,” said Collins.

The BMJ blog looked at the challenge countries face in accessing lifesaving drugs and vaccines as they shift from classification as low-income countries to middle-income countries (MICs). Due to tiered pricing structure and market segmentation plans implemented by pharmaceutical companies and aid organizations, as a country enters the MIC tier, it often is excluded from access to the lowest priced medicines and vaccines.

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