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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.

March 14, 2022 by Anna Kovacevich

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The phase 3 clinical trial of Valneva’s single-shot chikungunya vaccine is now complete, the company announced last week, with analysis confirming a high level of protection and strong immunogenicity profile. One month after receiving the live-attenuated, single-dose shot, 98.9 percent of participants achieved protective levels of neutralizing antibodies against chikungunya virus, and after six months, 96.3 percent of participants showed protective neutralizing antibody titers against the virus. The results represent the first final phase 3 trial data for a chikungunya vaccine candidate. Valneva expects to start the pre-submission process with the US Food and Drug Administration in the second quarter of this year.

An investigational antimalarial drug showed effectiveness against blood-stage Plasmodium falciparum malaria in its first stage of human testing, according to new analysis published in The Lancet. The drug, ZY19489, was found through a screening of around 500,000 compounds conducted by AstraZeneca and the Medicines for Malaria Venture. After demonstrating activity at the blood stage of infection in preclinical studies, the phase 1 trial was conducted to evaluate optimal dosing, assess effects of food intake on oral absorption and kinetics, and confirm the parasite was cleared without developing treatment resistance. The drug would likely need to be used in combination with another agent and with possible additional doses to attain a curative regime, but its demonstrated safety, pharmacokinetic profile, and antimalaria activity support its further development as a novel therapy, researchers said.

Global leaders and stakeholders last week pledged a total of US$1.535 billion to the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) to implement its five-year plan to prepare and protect against emerging diseases with pandemic potential. The five-year road map, for which CEPI has a total budgetary ask of $3.5 billion, includes plans to compress vaccine development to 100 days, develop a broadly protective vaccine against COVID-19 and other Betacoronaviruses, and create a “library” of vaccine candidates for use against known and unknown pathogens. In addition to monetary pledges, the Global Pandemic Preparedness Summit brought announcements on several research collaborations and commitments, including a partnership to develop a pan-coronavirus vaccine.

About the author

Anna KovacevichGHTC

Anna Kovacevich is a senior program assistant at GHTC who supports GHTC's communications and member engagement activities.