Anna Kovacevich is a senior program assistant at GHTC who supports GHTC's communications and member engagement activities.
Research Roundup: COVID-19 vaccines for youngest, child-friendly HIV treatment, and antibiotic access
In this regular feature on Breakthroughs, we highlight some of the most interesting reads in global health research from the past week.
On Friday, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) authorized Moderna’s and Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccines for children as young as 6 months—making kids under 5 years old eligible for the first time. The decision followed a unanimous recommendation from a panel of independent advisers to the agency to authorize Pfizer’s three-dose vaccine for children 6 months to 4 years and Moderna’s two-dose vaccine for children 6 months to 5 years. The FDA also authorized on Friday Moderna’s vaccine, previously cleared in adults over 18, for children and adolescents ages 6 through 17 years old. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Rochelle Walensky signed off on recommendation of the shots this past weekend, and vaccinations are beginning this week.
The South African Health Products Regulatory Authority last week approved a sweet-tasting, heat-stable, “4-in-1” fixed-dose combination of four antiretroviral (ARV) treatments—abacavir, lamivudine, lopinavir, and ritonavir—specifically designed for infants and young children with HIV. The new formulation, developed by Cipla Limited and the Drugs for Neglected Diseases initiative (DNDi), does not require refrigeration, has a sweet taste, and is easy to administer to infants and children of different weights and ages, making it a significant improvement over existing pediatric ARV formulations. The accelerated review in South Africa is notable and encouraging for other countries with a high burden of HIV, according to DNDi, which also expressed hope that the necessary steps will be taken to ensure the broadest possible access to the treatment for children who need it.
Japanese drugmaker Shionogi and the Global Antibiotic Research and Development Partnership (GARDP) announced Wednesday an agreement to expand access to a novel antibiotic for drug-resistant infections in lower-resource countries. The deal aims to provide access to cefiderocol, which is used to treat serious Gram-negative bacterial infections that may be resistant to other antibiotics, in countries that have experienced delayed or limited access to newer antibiotics. Under the agreement, GARDP will work with partners to manufacture and commercialize the antibiotic, developed by Shionogi, in up to 135 countries. The Clinton Health Access Initiative will also help navigate the technical, regulatory, legal, and economic barriers to getting the antibiotic to patients in these countries.