BREAKTHROUGHS BLOG

August 26, 2014

Research Roundup: New TB drugs, the Global Development Lab, licensing agreements, emergency Ebola research, and more

Senior Program Assistant
GHTC

In this regular feature on Breakthroughs, we highlight some of the most interesting reads in global health research from the past week.

Earlier this month, advocates from the Community Research Advisors Group (CRAG)—an international, community-based advisory body working to ensure the engagement of affected communities in tuberculosis (TB) research conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention—published an article in The Lancet offering a community perspective on the use of the drug bedaquiline to treat drug-resistant and drug-susceptible TB. The US Food and Drug Administration approved bedquiline for the treatment of drug-resistant TB—via an accelerated approval process—in December 2012, making it the first new drug from a novel class approved to treat TB in more than 40 years.

Former chief scientist at the US Agency for International Development (USAID), Alex Dehgan, sat down with the Center for Global Development to talk about the new USAID Global Development Lab. Dehgan—who was a major architect of the Lab—said the Lab’s purpose is to “rethink assumptions and harness the power of the crowd and America’s leading research institutes and universities, coupled with the democratization of science and technology, to lead to new breakthroughs that it can bring to scale.”

SciDev reports that only 86 of about 3,200 people in the “Highly Cited Researchers” list are living in developing countries. SciDev examined Thomson Reuters’ The World’s Most Influential Scientific Minds: 2014 report and found a significant North-South divide in recent citations of published papers across science. In sub-Saharan Africa, only researchers in South Africa were highly cited.

Pharmaceutical company Novartis has signed a licensing agreement with GHTC member TB Alliance to advance drug development to fight TB. Novartis will transfer its TB research program to TB Alliance, which will “take financial and operational responsibility for continued research, development, approval and distribution of compounds in the portfolio.”

With the world’s worst Ebola outbreak still not under control, the United Kingdom and the Wellcome Trust are pledging $10.8 million to launch an emergency research effort to help fight the disease. Experts from around the world have been asked to submit research proposals by September 8 that can quickly investigate new ways of treating, preventing, and containing Ebola.

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