March 28, 2013

Research Roundup: What we’re reading this week

Communications Officer

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

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has released a new global health strategy for 2012 to 2015. The strategy includes four broad goals the agency would like to achieve in that timeframe, and it also includes a focus on global health research and capacity building in developing countries. The CDC “aspires to create a world where people live healthier, safer, and longer lives,” the strategy says, adding, “The agency will draw upon innovation and research to meet these combined challenges and assure even greater health impact in the future.”

A recent CNN interview with Dr. Peter Hotez, dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine and president of the Sabin Vaccine Institute, highlights the growing emergence of neglected tropical diseases in US populations. Citing poverty as the overriding factor, Dr. Hotez explained that neglected tropical diseases such as Chagas disease, cisticercosis, toxocariasis, and dengue fever are contributing greatly to the burden of disease in the US.

President Obama has signed the Food and Drug Administration Safety and Innovation Act into law. The bipartisan bill reauthorizes both the Prescription Drug User Fee Act and Medical Device User Fee Act, and adds health technologies for rare diseases to the list of product categories that may qualify for accelerated FDA review.

The US Agency for International Development and the National Institutes of Health have launched a new grant program that promotes research to help end preventable child deaths and promote child survival in developing countries. Called the Partnerships for Enhanced Engagement in Research Health, the program will provide up to $450,000 over three years to each awardee to support collaborations that address research-to-practice barriers in child survival.

At last week’s London Summit on Family Planning, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation announced that it will spend more than $1 billion over the next eight years to increase access to contraceptives in the developing world and to support research for new methods of birth control. Additionally, public-private partnerships at the summit made announcements regarding increased access to and research for contraceptives in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia.

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