August 10, 2014

Research Roundup: Saving Lives at Birth, US-Africa Leaders Summit, possible Ebola vaccine, and more

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.

This month at the Saving Lives at Birth: A Grand Challenge for Development’s DevelopmentXChange event in Washington, DC, bright minds from all over the world came together to display groundbreaking prevention and treatment approaches for pregnant women and newborns in low- and middle-income countries. The event also offered an opportunity for policymakers and decision makers to talk about the importance of science, research, and innovation for global health.

During last week’s US-Africa Leaders Summit, the White House released a fact sheet on American and African cooperation for global health. As the world’s largest donor to global health, the United States is committed to working with African governments to improve the health of its citizens—including achieving an AIDS-free generation, ending preventable maternal and child deaths, enhancing global health security, and supporting African countries invest in the health of its own citizens.

The World Health Organization said it thinks an Ebola vaccine should be ready for public use by 2015. There is currently no vaccine or cure for Ebola, which is currently widespread in parts of West Africa and has killed over 900 people since March of this year. This year’s outbreak is the biggest ever reported since Ebola was discovered over 40 years ago.

In the Huffington Post’s blog, Dr. Jonathan Mermin—director of the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, Sexually Transmitted Diseases, and Tuberculosis (TB) Prevention—writes about the desperate need for new tools to prevent, detect, and treat TB and that “until we have better ways of detecting and treating TB, thousands of Americans and millions of people worldwide will continue to suffer from an illness that should have been consigned to history long ago.”

An experimental vaccine to prevent dengue could be commercially available by July 2015, according to the vaccine’s makers—pharmaceutical company Sanofi Pasteur. There is currently no vaccine to prevent this mosquito-borne disease that affects thousands of people—mainly in low- and middle-income countries—every year.