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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 25, 2024 by Hannah Sachs-Wetstone

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The International Vaccine Institute (IVI) has initiated a technology transfer, first announced last year, of the simplified Oral Cholera Vaccine (OCV-S) to Indian company Biological E. Limited. In the face of an unprecedented rise in cholera outbreaks around the world in recent years, the technology transfer aims to increase the volume of affordable cholera vaccines in the Indian and international markets. IVI is providing technical information, know-how, and materials to support clinical development and regulatory approvals of the vaccine. OCV-s is a simplified formulation of the Oral Cholera Vaccine that can lower production costs while increasing capacity for manufacturers.

The Bill & Melinda Gates Medical Research Institute last week announced the launch of a Phase 3 trial evaluating a vaccine for tuberculosis (TB), which researchers hope could become the second licensed vaccine for TB in more than 100 years. The adjuvanted subunit vaccine M72/AS01E was originally developed by GSK, Aeras, and IAVI. The trial, funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the Wellcome Trust, is testing the vaccine’s ability to prevent latent TB from progressing to active pulmonary TB in adults and adolescents. If successful, the pivotal trial could lead to a new tool with the potential to transform TB control globally.

A research team from the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine has identified drug candidates that demonstrate the potential to eliminate the HIV viral reservoir that cannot be expelled completely by existing antiretroviral drugs, preventing people who have undetectable viral load from being completely cured of HIV. The drug candidates, which are called proteolysis targeting chimeras, or PROTACs, can trigger the degradation of the viral protein that prevents the immune system from destroying infected cells by hiding signs of the virus on the surface of the cell. Through this method, the drugs show promise in reversing the ability of HIV to evade detection by the immune system. The PROTAC approach still has significant hurdles to go before it can be used in humans, including preclinical testing in animal models and medical chemistry optimization.

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