January 30, 2014

Research Roundup: What we’re reading this week

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.

In this year’s State of the Union, President Obama mentioned “federally-funded research” and recognized that “there are entire industries based on vaccines that stay ahead of drug-resistant bacteria.” While a modest statement, the President’s recognition of these important US contributions to global health is significant.

Last week during the World Health Organization Executive Board meeting, Member States met to discuss moving forward on eight demonstration projects that would look at new ways to spur research and development (R&D) for diseases that affect populations in low- and middle-income countries. However, some advocates were disappointed that the topic of alternative funding mechanisms for global health R&D was not substantively debated.

The US Agency for International Development (USAID) announced this week that the Centre for the AIDS Programme of Research in South Africa (CAPRISA) 004 Tenofovir gel trial was the winner of the agency’s Science and Technology Pioneers Prize. The prize recognizes “excellence in the use of science and technology to solve development challenges.” This is the first year USAID has awarded the prize.

The Swiss Federal Department of Home Affairs and the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs, and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation have signed a Memorandum of Understanding to improve access to health interventions through the strengthening of regulatory systems. The partnership could improve and accelerate access to health interventions and therapeutic products in resource-constraint countries.