BREAKTHROUGHS BLOG

September 30, 2014

Research Roundup: R&D in the post-2015 agenda, TB vaccines, the Global Innovation Fund, intellectual property, and more

Senior Program Assistant
GHTC

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

In a new paper—developed by the Council on Health Research for Development, GHTC, the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative, and PATH—the authors make the case for the inclusion of research and innovation for health as a central component of the post-2015 development agenda. The paper describes the impact that increased investments in R&D and innovation for health—particularly for the world’s poorest—have had in contributing to progress toward achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs)—particularly for MDGs 4 (reduce child mortality), 5 (improve maternal health), and 6 (combat HIV/AIDS, malaria, and other diseases).

In a recent special report from the Global Post, the prominence of public-private partnerships in global health is analyzed as governments laud private sector partners for their expertise and vast resources. However, while most believe public-private partnerships to be highly effective, the Global Post looks into how to quantify their impact given the lack of comprehensive and transparent metrics for evaluation.

Last week we at the United Nations General Assembly, the US Agency for International Development, the UK Department for International Development, the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency, the Australian Department for Foreign Affairs and Trade, and the Omidyar Network have launched a US$200 million Global Innovation Fund. Grants ranging from $50,000 to $15 million will be available for social enterprises, for-profit businesses, researchers, government agencies, and nonprofits.

The Atlantic highlights a recent incident in El Paso, Texas, where a former hospital nursery employee tested positive for tuberculosis (TB), which caused panic and precautionary screenings of more than 700 infants who passed through the nursery over the last year. In addition to demonstrating that Americans are not immune to this diseases, the article also asks why an effective vaccine to prevent TB in the first place has yet to be discovered.

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) have received national recognition for the “most outstanding intellectual property deal” for MenAfriVac™—a low-cost meningitis vaccine developed specifically for populations in sub-Saharan Africa. The vaccine—developed by GHTC member PATH and the Serum Institute of India—incorporated technology from the FDA, as well as a patent license for a manufacturing process granted by the NIH.

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