October 08, 2017

Research Roundup: Nanopatch technology, agriculture and antibiotics, and a first-time pledge

Program Assistant
PATH/Gabe Bienczycki

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

A new study suggests the Nanopatch vaccine delivery system is more efficacious in protecting against poliovirus than typical syringes or needles. Nanopatch, defined as “a microscopic vaccine delivery platform,” targets immune cells in the outer layers of the skin, as opposed to typical syringes and needles, requiring injection into the muscle. The change from muscle to immune cells results in easier administration of the vaccine as well as a reduction in the required dosage. While initial data on Nanopatch is promising, more research is needed.

The World Health Organization has warned that an increase in antibiotic use in livestock will result in increased antibiotic resistance humans, potentially causing one of the biggest threats to human health. The agricultural sectors in both Europe and North America are advancing efforts to curb antibiotic use, but many countries are still lagging behind in efforts to scale back use of antibiotics. While new policies and reform around livestock antibiotic use are needed, experts note there is still a need to treat health complications in livestock, through antibiotic alternatives like animal vaccines, as well as a need for improved diagnostics.

The World Health Organization, numerous aid agencies, and relevant stakeholders have announced the first global pledge to end cholera by 2030, following one of the worst outbreaks of cholera in modern history. Cholera is considered a “disease of the poor,” affecting individuals living in areas with poor sanitary and water conditions. The recent outbreak is associated with and exacerbated by weak health systems, poor infrastructure, and a lack of necessary supplies to prevent, diagnose, or treat cholera. The pledge will focus on a multifaceted approach involving improving water and sanitation as a long-term solution and use of an oral, three-year cholera vaccine to provide immediate protection.