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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.

July 1, 2024 by Hannah Sachs-Wetstone

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Last Thursday, Roche announced that its molecular Cobas HPV test received prequalification designations from the World Health Organization (WHO), a decision that will hopefully boost global efforts to eliminate cervical cancer through improved access to testing. The test received prequalification designations for use on the Cobas 5800 system and for self-collected samples on the Cobas 5800, 6800, and 8800 instruments, already having received WHO prequalification for use on the Cobas 6800 and 8800 systems last year. Prequalification will expand the availability of the test in many low- and middle-income countries that rely on prequalification to make regulatory, purchasing, and implementation decisions. Additionally, the use of self-collection, which was also recently approved by the US Food and Drug Administration, is expected to increase access to HPV testing by increasing comfort and ease for users.  

The Combating Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria Biopharmaceutical Accelerator (CARB-X) recently announced a $1 million award to Prompt Diagnostics to further the development of a portable, point-of-care platform to detect multiple pathogenic bacteria targets and their antibiotic susceptibility, an urgently needed technology to help address rising drug resistance globally. Rapid, sophisticated diagnostics can enable early detection of infections, more effective treatment management, and improved antimicrobial stewardship to help prevent the emergence and spread of drug resistance, particularly in low-resource settings where drug-resistant infections are particularly hard to treat and the burden of drug resistance is highest. Specifically, CARB-X hopes the platform will demonstrate feasibility for detecting gonorrhea infections in the face of disproportionately high rates of gonorrhea in low- and middle-income countries.

New research shows that a novel genetic vector control technique is highly effective at reducing the population of Anopheles gambiae, the primary vector for malaria in Africa. The technology could eventually serve a crucial role in reducing malaria transmission, especially as conventional methods, including insecticide-based technologies and environmental controls, are becoming less effective due to insecticide resistance. The precision-guided sterile insect technique uses CRISPR, a gene-editing tool, to produce genetically modified highly sterile male mosquitoes that then mate with and sterilize female mosquitoes, leading to robust population suppression. Developers say that compared to other genetic modification technologies developed for this mosquito species, the new technique is safer, scalable, and confinable.

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