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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.

May 15, 2023 by Hannah Sachs-Wetstone

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Last Thursday, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the end of the global health emergency for mpox following a recommendation from WHO’s emergency committee on mpox, which also recommended continued management to prevent the virus from evolving. Bavarian Nordic’s vaccine for smallpox was deployed in the United States and Europe under emergency authorizations and recommended by WHO primarily for post-exposure during the mpox emergency, although the limited available stock that was already earmarked for wealthy countries created access challenges in low- and middle-income countries. Randomized control trials planned in endemic countries will provide more essential data about the efficacy of the vaccine against mpox. Additional data is also needed to fully understand how the strain of the virus evolved to sustain prolonged transmission between humans.

Last week, the US$30 million Human Pangenome project, launched in 2019 and funded by the US National Human Genome Research Institute, published the first phase of the first human pangenome, which aims to be a genome that is more representative of the diversity of DNA in humans around the world. The genome could be an important guide for researchers building genetic tests and looking for new drug targets. This initiative addresses diversity gaps in the first reference genome, released in 2001, which have undermined the ability to develop tests that work across diverse populations.

A new global research consortium organized by the Centres for Antimicrobial Optimisation Network aims to fight antimicrobial resistance by improving clinical use of antimicrobials and improving practices and guidelines for prescribers, users, and policymakers. Research hubs in Kampala, Cape Town, São Paulo, Liverpool, and London—where there is a high burden of drug-resistant infections and where there are communities highly affected by the burden of infectious disease—will generate essential data on the optimal use of antibiotics. Researchers hope this will in turn lead to more effective treatment and prevention of bacterial infections in the face of rising antimicrobial resistance worldwide.

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