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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.

September 18, 2023 by Hannah Sachs-Wetstone

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A study published last week found that a subset of cells in dormant HIV reservoirs spontaneously produce HIV RNA and proteins, prompting the need for further research into the consequences for the immune system of these ongoing viral interactions in people living with HIV and receiving treatment. This research suggests that the RNA and proteins produced by the reservoirs could be behind inflammation, accelerated cardiac disease, frailty, and premature osteoporosis, which can persist in people who are otherwise successfully treated for HIV. Future studies will need to examine these reservoirs in more diverse populations, but this research could lead to the identification of new ways to target these remaining active viruses in people receiving HIV treatment to ensure that the virus does not rebound and to address their potential health consequences.

New research has identified the spread of new strains of malaria parasites in Ethiopia that are resistant to current artemisinin-based treatments and indetectable by common diagnostic tests. This discovery follows the recent identification of strains in other regions of Africa that were resistant to either treatment or testing, although the Ethiopia strain is the first identified resistant to both. The spread of these strains could be a major challenge to efforts to eliminate malaria globally. This most recent finding also underscores the urgent need for both close monitoring of the spread of resistance among malaria parasites, as well as development of new therapies and vaccines.

Last week, GARDP announced a sublicense agreement with the Indian company Orchid Pharma to manufacture Shionogi’s antibiotic cefiderocol, enabling Orchid to produce the drug more cheaply for low- and middle-income countries in the face of global gaps in access to antibiotics and rising rates of antimicrobial resistance. This agreement builds on a partnership between GARDP, Shionogi, and the Clinton Health Initiative, which granted GARDP the license last year. Cefiderocol is on the World Health Organization’s Model List of Essential Medicines and is considered globally to be an important weapon against difficult-to-treat, multidrug-resistant infections, but it has not yet been made commercially available in the majority of low- and middle-income countries.

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