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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.

February 26, 2024 by Hannah Sachs-Wetstone

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Last Friday, the World Health Organization (WHO) announced the prequalification of a novel typhoid conjugate vaccine, developed through a global public-private partnership between SK bioscience and the International Vaccine Institute. Clinical trials in the Philippines and Nepal showed that the vaccine was safe to administer in infants and children as young at 6  months to two years and offered long-term protection with a single dose. As the rising global threats of climate change and antimicrobial resistance amplify the risk of typhoid, which causes between 120,000 and 160,000 deaths globally every year, this vaccine could help grow the global supply of typhoid conjugate vaccines and improve access in low- and middle-income countries through public procurement markets.

Researchers have discovered a potent antibody, 95Mat5, that can neutralize a key type of neurotoxin produced by four deadly snake species in South Asia, Southeast Asia, and Africa. Currently, the standard treatment for snake bites, which kill an estimated 81,000 to 138,000 people globally every year and primarily occur in low- and middle-income countries, is antivenoms that consist of a variety of animal-harvested antibodies. These antivenoms can vary in efficacy and can also cause adverse immune reactions because the antibodies they use come from animals. Continued development of 95Mat5, which was synthetically created, could lead to a new antivenom that could be used to treat bites from the world's most dangerous venomous snakes and would be less likely to cause side effects because the antibody is human-derived.

FHI 360 is leading a Phase 1 clinical trial of the biodegradable contraceptive implant Casea S, the first trial for a biodegradable contraceptive implant in more than 20 years. Casea S is implanted in the arm and works by releasing a synthetic hormone to prevent pregnancy for 18 to 24 months before dissolving. If proven successful in future trials, Casea S could serve as an alternative contraceptive option in the growing toolkit of products necessary to address the diverse needs and lifestyles of contraceptive users. Currently available implants are highly effective and safe and increasingly popular. Casea S could be an even better option, especially in low- and middle-income countries where users can face barriers to receiving care, because it dissolves by itself, eliminating the need for a removal procedure by a trained medical provider.  

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