June 16, 2014

Research Roundup: New drugs against diarrhea, the End Neglected Tropical Diseases Act, genetically-modified mosquitoes, and mines

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.

Last week, the Center for Strategic and International Studies hosted a panel on the occasion of the release of its summary report, Strategic US Leadership—Essential to Address the Global Tuberculosis Pandemic, which examines US approaches to tackling tuberculosis (TB) both in the United States and abroad. The report concludes that the United States needs to better lead, coordinate, and prioritize its TB efforts, as well as create robust, long-term research partnerships with key institutions in select emerging economies to promote the discovery and development of new TB tools.

GHTC member PATH has been awarded a three-year, US$15.6 million grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to develop effective treatments for severe acute secretory diarrhea (ASD). The new grant will support a portfolio approach to drug development in an effort to maximize the chances of successful drug candidates to treat ASD, as well as support new engagement with the public and private sectors.

Last week, the US House of Representatives introduced the End Neglected Tropical Diseases Act in an effort to turn the tide in the fight against neglected tropical diseases. The bill was introduced by Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ) and already has bipartisan support from Reps. Matt Salmon (R-AZ), Hank Johnson (D-GA), and Greg Meeks (D-NY).


Osman Sankoh, executive director of INDEPTH, emphasized the important role of research and innovation for development in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) in The Lancet Global Health Blog. Sankoh writes that “stronger international commitment to investing in research, development, and innovation in LMICs” is crucial in the post-2015 development agenda. He added that “research into health threats not only saves lives—it also helps governments and donors to save money.”

Scientists at Imperial College London have created genetically-modified mosquitoes that produce 95 percent male offspring with the goal of helping control malaria. They believe introducing these mosquitoes into the normal mosquito population could lead to a shortage of females and a crash in overall population, thus reducing malaria incidences.

GHTC member Aeras has released a new film exploring the TB crisis in the mines of South Africa. The film—called Undermined—looks at “the river of TB flowing out from the mines, and why a vaccine is critical to the global fight against this disease.”