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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.

March 20, 2023 by Hannah Sachs-Wetstone

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A research team from Johnson & Johnson has refined and tested a new dengue treatment with promising results in animal studies. The treatment was tested for prevention and treatment in mice and for prevention in monkeys. No treatment exists for dengue, which has four different strains, and the two available vaccines for the disease have not yet been approved universally, highlighting the great potential of this new treatment in reducing disease burden. Further research is needed to find out whether the treatment could produce vulnerability to more serious reinfection and to test the compound in humans.

Last week, the World Health Organization (WHO) recommended the use of bednets treated with new insecticides in areas where there is mosquito resistance to pyrethroid, which has historically been used to treat bednets. WHO now recommends combining pyrethroid with an additional chemical—either the insect growth regulator pyriproxyfen or the insecticide chlorfenapyr. The recommendations are based on large-scale trials done by the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine in Tanzania and Benin. Researchers say the rollout of the new bednets could happen as early as the next few months and should take place in concert with the development of a comprehensive long-term plan to manage and prevent future resistance.

Mobile vaccine production units, made by German pharmaceutical company BioNTech, recently arrived in Rwanda as part of a larger initiative to boost mRNA vaccine manufacturing on the African continent. The facility, which will hopefully start producing doses in around a year, will be able to manufacture up to 100 million mRNA vaccines a year for African Union countries, as well as potentially innovate treatments for diseases like HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria, which are among the leading causes of death on the continent. There are further deliveries of these mobile production units planned for South Africa and Senegal.

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