BREAKTHROUGHS BLOG

January 06, 2020

Research Roundup: New drug push for three tropical diseases, new injection method improves TB vaccine efficacy, and breakthrough in developing antimalarials

Ansley Kahn
Senior Program Assistant
GHTC
Julien Rashid
Policy & Advocacy Associate
GHTC
PATH/Patrick McKern

Interested in more global health innovation news? Every week GHTC scours media reports worldwide to deliver essential global health R&D news and content to your inbox. Sign-up now to receive our weekly R&D News Roundup email. 

A team of Brazilian researchers are leading an international consortium to discover new drug candidates for malaria, visceral leishmaniasis, and Chagas disease. The organizations involved in the consortium include FAPESP (São Paulo Research Foundation), Medicines for Malaria Venture (MMV), Drugs for Neglected Diseases initiative (DNDi), Universidade Estadual de Campinas, and the University of São Paulo. The consortium has received US$10.7 million from the participating organizations for the next five years and will prioritize selecting and training researchers from São Paulo and investing inA new study has found that delivering the BCG (bacille Calmette-Guérin) tuberculosis (TB) vaccine intravenously better protected monkeys against infection than the standard administration method of injecting it into the skin. The BCG vaccine, which is the only licensed TB vaccine, is effective in preventing early-childhood forms of TB but provides limited protection against pulmonary TB, the dominant form in adults. Researchers have suspected that delivering the vaccine via other routes of administration, such as inhaled aerosolized vaccine or IV, could improve efficacy. In this study, researchers used rhesus macaque monkeys to compare the potency of intravenous needle injection to aerosolized and intradermal routes of vaccine delivery. Remarkably, nine of the ten monkeys that received the intravenous injection were highly protected from exposure to TB six months after vaccination—and six of the monkeys showed no signs of exposure. local institutions. DNDi and MMV will provide frameworks and resources for drug discovery, including MMV’s database of molecules.

A new study has found that delivering the BCG (bacille Calmette-Guérin) tuberculosis (TB) vaccine intravenously better protected monkeys against infection than the standard administration method of injecting it into the skin. The BCG vaccine, which is the only licensed TB vaccine, is effective in preventing early-childhood forms of TB but provides limited protection against pulmonary TB, the dominant form in adults. Researchers have suspected that delivering the vaccine via other routes of administration, such as inhaled aerosolized vaccine or IV, could improve efficacy. In this study, researchers used rhesus macaque monkeys to compare the potency of intravenous needle injection to aerosolized and intradermal routes of vaccine delivery. Remarkably, nine of the ten monkeys that received the intravenous injection were highly protected from exposure to TB six months after vaccination—and six of the monkeys showed no signs of exposure.

Researchers at the Institut Pasteur and the Centre national de la recherche scientifique have discovered a new route for developing antimalarial drugs. In studying the Plasmodium parasite and its ability to adapt between host environments in humans and mosquitoes throughout its life cycle, the researchers realized they could exploit this adaptability. The parasite uses a process called DNA methylation to modify which genes are expressed during different stages of its life cycle in humans and mosquitoes. The researchers tested 70 methylation-inhibiting molecules and found many that were effective, including some that killed the parasite within hours. The researchers also found that the most promising molecules were able to kill artemisinin-resistant malaria strains. This research could lead to new treatments in the future against treatment-resistant malaria strains.

back