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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.

November 27, 2023 by Hannah Sachs-Wetstone

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A new phase IV observational study will test whether a novel approach to managing severe malaria, involving interim treatment with rectal artesunate, could address the challenge of treating those with severe cases in isolated rural settings far from a health facility. In the study, patients will be treated with artesunate rectal capsules at the community level and evaluated for clinical outcomes and then will receive follow up treatment with oral artemisinin-based combination therapies once they are well enough to swallow the medicine. The study, led by the newly created Severe Malaria treatment with Rectal artesunate and Arteminisin-based Combination Therapy [in remote settings] (SEMA ReACT) consortium, is intended to generate evidence to inform gaps in guidance on how to approach treatment when it is not feasible to transfer severely ill patients in timely manner to high-level health facilities as current guidance recommends.

The results from a new study coordinated by the Drugs for Neglected Diseases initiative (DNDi), the Japanese pharmaceutical company Eisai, and the Mycetoma Research Center in Khartoum found that the oral drug fosravuconazole is up to 85 percent effective in treating the neglected tropical disease mycetoma and has no side effects. Currently, mycetoma is treated with itraconazole, a drug which needs to be taken with food four times a day for a year, has a myriad of side effects, is expensive, and is not available in all endemic countries. In contrast, fosravuconazole, only needs to be taken once a day without food, is inexpensive, and already widely used to treat fungal nail infections—factors that enhance its suitability for widespread use in low-resource settings.

The Global Antibiotic Research & Development Partnership (GARDP) has been awarded around $3.07 million from the Research Investment for Global Health Technology Foundation to support an international clinical trial to evaluate three novel antibiotic regimens for neonatal sepsis. This infection affects over 3 million newborns every year, most of whom live in low- and middle-income countries. The trial, run by GARP and partners, is underway in Kenya and South Africa and will expand to more countries next year. The funding will also enable GARDP to collaborate with South Korean Jeil Pharma to explore options to optimize the manufacturing and approval of the novel antibiotics included in the regimens under study to ensure affordable prices and stable supplies of the drugs.

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