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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 14, 2022 by Hannah Sachs-Wetstone

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Last week, the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) announced plans for a US$1.76 million investment to advance and expand the scope and technology of the Spillover app, a platform created at the University of California, Davis that could be key to identifying and preparing for “Disease X,” a virus with pandemic potential that has yet to be identified. The platform includes a database with more than 500,000 samples from an estimated 74,000 animals in 28 different countries around the world, and CEPI’s investments will further its capabilities to identify viruses that are most likely to spill over to humans. The platform is hoping to use that data to prioritize and streamline investments in a library of vaccines, aimed at protecting against the viral families that pose the greatest threats, that are ready to be adapted against “Disease X” within 100 days of its identification.

South Africa will begin piloting a new every-other-month HIV prevention shot as new modelling released last week showed that the shot could prevent as many as 52,000 new infections over the next 20 years if rolled out nationally. The pilot will begin after approval from the South African Health Products Regulatory Authority, which is expected early next year. Two large clinical trials found that the shot was more effective than the oral HIV prevention pill, Truvada, in part because it is taken much less frequently than the daily pill. However, the shot will only be available, at least in the short-term, in small pilot projects, and the high price is still a major barrier to the product being cost-effective in South Africa.

Results from the STREAM clinical trial, shared last week at the Union World Conference at Lung Health showed that two shorter treatment regimens for multi-drug resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB) including a fully oral nine-month bedaquiline-based regimen and a six-month injection-containing regimen have been shown to be safer and more effective that the nine-month regimen, which combines pills and injections, that is still in wide use. The STREAM trial was the largest-ever MDR-TB trial ever conducted with more than 1,000 participants across eight countries. The findings from the trial strengthen the evidence for bedaquiline as a component of improved drug-resistant therapies (bedaquiline is also a component of the six-month BPaL and BPaLM regimens, which were endorsed for use against most forms of drug-resistant tuberculosis in the World Health Organization's rapid communication on tuberculosis treatment guidelines released earlier this year).

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