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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.

November 29, 2021 by Anna Kovacevich

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The World Health Organization’s COVID-19 Technology Access Pool and the Medicines Patent Pool last week finalized a licensing agreement with the Spanish National Research Council (CSIC) for its serological antibody test, marking the first non-exclusive license for a COVID-19 health tool. The CSIC test—a serological antibody test that evaluates for the presence of anti-SARS-CoV-2 antibodies developed either in response to a COVID-19 infection or to a vaccine—is relatively simple and suitable for basic laboratory infrastructure. The new license will allow the test to be offered royalty-free to low- and middle-income countries in order to promote equitable access to COVID-19 tools and facilitate rapid manufacturing and commercialization of the tool worldwide.

Last Monday, Pfizer and BioNTech announced their COVID-19 vaccine was 100 percent efficacious in preventing infection among 12- to 15-year-olds from seven days to four months after administration of the second dose. The new results come from a longer-term analysis of a phase 3 trial—so far the only disclosed longer-term data demonstrating the safety and efficacy of a COVID-19 vaccine in individuals 12 to 15 years of age. The vaccine has been authorized by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for this age group since May and is fully licensed for individuals 16 years of age and older. The companies plan to submit the data to the FDA for an extension of their COVID-19 vaccine approval to cover the younger age group.

The Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) plans to expand its centralized vaccine testing capabilities employed for COVID-19 to the development of vaccines for other epidemic and pandemic diseases. CEPI’s network, the world’s largest for assessing COVID-19 vaccines, comprises a global collection of labs, which more than 30 COVID-19 vaccine developers have used to access more than 15,000 clinical trial samples. The system will now be used to support vaccine development for other priority diseases, including chikungunya, Lassa fever, MERS, Nipah, Rift Valley fever, and Disease X. The testing network is intended to help quickly and accurately identify the most promising candidates with the best potential for late-stage clinical trial advancement and regulatory review, which also supports CEPI’s overarching goal of reducing the vaccine development timeline to just 100 days.

About the author

Anna KovacevichGHTC

Anna supports communications activities and member coordination for GHTC. Her portfolio includes the development and dissemination of the coalition’s communications materials and digital outreach, facilitating engagement and outreach to coalition members, and supporting all more about this author