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

October 10, 2022 by Hannah Sachs-Wetstone

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Excision BioTherapeutics is investigating whether a single Crispr infusion can effectively keep HIV at undetectable levels in the body. If effective, this innovation could eliminate the need for daily antiretroviral therapy. The Crispr therapy attempts to disrupt the replication process by targeting regions in the HIV genome that are critical in that process. While antiretroviral drugs can stop the virus from replicating, the Crispr therapy is designed to go further by ensuring that the virus cannot reactivate in the future. The trial aims to enroll nine participants and compare the efficacy of three different dosages. 

The Medicines Patent Pool has signed a voluntary licensing agreement with Japanese pharmaceutical company Shionogi, to allow low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) rapid access to its COVID-19 antiviral treatment pill, contingent on its regulatory approval. Under the agreement, the Medicines Patent Pool will grant sub-licenses to qualified generic manufacturers to produce the antiviral (ensitrelvir fumaric acid) in 117 LMICs. The candidate, which showed promising results in phase 2/3 trials, could make a significant difference in low-and middle-income countries with low vaccination rates.

The Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority has granted a multi-year contract to Vir Biotechnology with US$55 million in funding to support its influenza-focused antibody drug that is expected to continue trials soon. The contract also allows for a potential billion-dollar investment for the development of candidates against emerging infectious diseases, including influenza. The funding is aimed at improving pandemic preparedness efforts through investments in technologies that target pathogens with pandemic potential.

About the author

Hannah Sachs-WetstoneGHTC

Hannah supports advocacy and communications activities and member coordination for GHTC. Her role includes developing and disseminating digital communications, tracking member and policy news, engaging coalition members, and organizing meetings and events.Prior to joining GHTC, more about this author