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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 2, 2023 by Hannah Sachs-Wetstone

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The latest funding from the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority’s (BARDA’s) Project NextGen will go to Gritstone bio for a large-scale phase 2b study of its mRNA COVID-19 vaccine candidate. $433 million will go toward the trial, expected to start early next year, which will test the company’s vaccine against an already approved one. Gritstone’s candidate aims to provide broader and longer-lasting clinical protection than first-generation COVID-19 vaccines by inducing multiple types of immunity against current and future variants of the virus that causes COVID-19.

Two recent studies reviewing the efficacy and safety of higher dose regimens of the antimalarial drug primaquine bolster support for increasing doses in malaria-endemic countries. Primaquine has been used against Plasmodium vivax malaria for more than 60 years, but this new research provides the answer to a problem designated by the World Health Organization as a key research priority: how to reduce malaria relapse. The studies found that doubling the currently used dose of primaquine halved malaria relapses, while delivering a similar safety profile to the lower dose regimen, suggesting widespread implementation of higher dosing could have a significant impact on reducing P. vivax malaria relapses, deaths, and transmission in endemic countries.

New research into an innovative injected hydrogel drug method for treating HIV offers hope of a completely novel management method that could drastically reduce the frequency of treatment and eliminate the need for daily pills, greatly improving the quality of life of people living with HIV. The researchers found that one injection of the gel in mice was enough to maintain effective and lasting concentrations of the drug lamivudine for 42 days with nearly no side effects by ensuring the drug was released slowly and consistently in the body. Further tests will look at the hydrogel used in combination with others drugs to prevent HIV as well as simultaneously address HIV and hepatitis B.

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