April 19, 2015

Research Roundup: publication of clinical trial results, the establishment of an African CDC, and more

Senior Program Assistant

The World Health Organization (WHO) released a statement last week calling for the publication of all data from clinical trials for drugs, vaccines, and medical devices. The pharmaceutical industry has made great strides in reporting the results of clinical trials since the establishment of the WHO International Clinical Trials Registry Platform. However, a report released in conjunction with the WHO statement demonstrates that negative or inconclusive clinical trial results often go unreported, and there is still a need to publish data from older clinical trials.

The United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (US CDC) is partnering with the African Union to establish an African Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (African CDC) comprised of a Coordinating Center in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia—where the African Union is located—and five Regional Collaborating Centers across the continent. The purpose of the African CDC is to support and connect African ministries of health to monitor and respond to disease outbreaks. The US CDC will provide initial technical expertise and will sponsor ten African epidemiologists and two public health experts from the US CDC to staff the Coordinating Center and Regional Collaborating Centers.

Dr. Jack Whitescarver, director of the Office of AIDS Research (OAR) at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), will step down in July after leading the Office for 15 years. Dr. Whitescarver first joined the NIH in 1977 and he was involved in the initial detection and monitoring of the HIV/AIDS epidemic in the United States. He was also a major player in the NIH’s HIV/AIDS outreach and education efforts, prior to the establishment of OAR in 1988. Under his leadership, OAR has supported both international and domestic research efforts, with a focus on HIV/AIDS in minority populations and in women and girls.

The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) at the US Department of Commerce announced the winners of the 2015 Patents for Humanity program. The winners will be granted an expedited patent application, ex parte reexam, or ex parte appeal before USPTO. This year's winners include Sanofi—the manufacturer of a synthetic version of the antimalarial artemisinin—and Novartis, a pharmaceutical company that has discovered a class of compounds that show promise in fighting drug-sensitive and drug-resistant tuberculosis. Sanofi is partnering with GHTC members PATH and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to produce synthetic artemisinin, while Novartis has provided TB Alliance—another member of the GHTC—with the compounds to continue the research and development of treatments for tuberculosis.

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