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 Global Health Technologies Coalition 


R&D News Roundup: October 30, 2023


Top News in R&D

Pfizer, BioNTech prep flu-COVID mRNA combo shot for phase 3, reprising Moderna race after seeing early data
Fierce Biotech (10/26)

Pfizer and BioNTech last week reported promising early-phase data on an mRNA combination vaccine against COVID-19 and influenza and announced plans to start a phase 3 trial of the vaccine, following Moderna’s similar announcement for its combination vaccine earlier this month. Moderna’s trial began last week, with Pfizer and BioNTech’s likely to start in the coming months as well. A combination vaccine for COVID-19 and influenza has the potential to greatly reduce the burden of these respiratory viruses on patients, providers, and health care systems, underscoring why these companies and the broader research community have placed a greater focus on combination vaccines coming out of the pandemic.

First malaria vaccine slashes early childhood mortality
Science (10/24), features ASTMH and PATH

At the annual meeting of the American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene (ASTMH) last week, the World Health Organization reported the results of a major evaluation of a pilot rollout in three African countries of RTS,S, the first approved malaria vaccine, showing positive findings about the lives it has already saved. RTS,S cut deaths among young children by 13 percent over nearly four years and cut cases of severe malaria by 22 percent among kids young enough to have received a three-shot regimen. The RTS,S vaccine is notably not a perfect tool, given the limited durability of its protection and lower efficacy, but health experts say this data makes a strong case for broader rollout of RTS,S and the potential of integrating the second approved malaria vaccine, R21, into multipronged efforts to fight malaria.

Scientists infect volunteers with Zika in hunt for vaccines, treatments
Reuters (10/21), features ASTMH

A research team at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health has shown for the first time that human volunteers can be safely and effectively infected with Zika virus, which could benefit research efforts to gain a greater understanding of the disease and to develop vaccines and treatments to use against it, as none currently exist. This controlled human infection model is useful for research because during the 2015-2016 outbreak, researchers were unable to test experimental products in time before the epidemic subsided, and since, there have not been any large outbreaks. The new model is controversial but has been ruled by US regulators and the World Health Organization as safe and scientifically important.



News from GHTC

CEPI and Moderna harness mRNA technology to advance 100 Days Mission
Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) press release (10/30)

GHIT Fund and the Medicines Patent Pool strengthen ties to improve access to medicines
Medicines Patent Pool press release (10/30), features the Global Health Innovative Technology Fund

WHO considers adding ‘noma,’ a rare childhood disease, to its list of neglected conditions
STAT (10/25), features the Drugs for Neglected Diseases initiative and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

CEPI to support circular RNA-based platform technology for vaccine development against emerging viral threats
CEPI press release (10/25)

Valneva submits Chikungunya vaccine marketing application to EMA and announces CHMP accelerated assessment
Valneva press release (10/25), features CEPI



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