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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.

April 22, 2024 by Hannah Sachs-Wetstone

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The Combating Antibiotic Bacteria Biopharmaceutical Accelerator (CARB-X) last week announced that it will award up to $1 million to the company Scout to develop a rapid, inexpensive, and easy-to-use point-of-care diagnostic test for gonorrhea, which could expand access to testing and proper treatment in the face of a rise in gonorrhea cases and drug-resistant gonorrhea cases globally, especially in low- and middle-income countries. The test, STI-Scout, is designed to detect and differentiate between Neisseria gonorrhoeae and Chlamydia trachomitis and can provide results in only 30 minutes using urine samples or vaginal swabs at less than half the cost of other available tests. The test uses a proven isothermal technology that was validated for SARS-CoV-2 detection.

Last week, EuBiologics and the International Vaccine Institute (IVI) announced that the World Health Organization (WHO) had prequalified Euvichol-S, an improved oral cholera vaccine produced with a simplified method that will hopefully help to address the rise of cholera outbreaks globally and a dire vaccine supply shortage. The vaccine, whose development was supported by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, is produced in a way that can improve formulation and manufacturing productivity by 40 percent compared to the company’s prior oral cholera vaccine and demonstrated efficacy in a Phase 3 trial in Nepal last year. The prequalification paves the way for United Nations agencies and Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, to buy the vaccine for countries experiencing outbreaks.

The New Nets Project, funded by Unitaid and The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, recently reported results from several pilot studies showing that a pair of second-generation bed nets tested in malaria-endemic areas helped to prevent up to 13 million additional cases of malaria, saving close to 25,000 lives—exciting news that comes as malaria cases, as well as resistance to the standard insecticide used to treat nets, rise globally. The studies found that the new nets, the Interceptor G2 and Royal Guard—which both use dual insecticides to address resistance—were between 20 and 50 percent more effective than traditional nets, which only use pyrethroid insecticide, in reducing mosquito exposure and reduced the risk of infection by up to 55 percent. Although the new nets are more expensive, the additional cost seems to be offset by the public health savings of malaria prevention. Researchers expect malaria parasites to eventually become resistant to the new nets, highlighting the need for continued research into other methods of vector control, as well as ensuring population-scale protection through vaccination.

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