IVI   [to 8 April 2017]
April 3,2017
Korean Ministry of Health and Welfare, International Vaccine Institute (IVI) sign agreement on vaccine development and delivery cooperation
– Agreement to collaborate on vaccine R&D projects, capacity-building, and information-exchange programs between IVI, universities, research institutes and industry
– IVI Director General Jerome Kim thanks Korea for its support of global health R&D and vows to increase IVI’s cooperation with Korea

SEOUL, KOREA – The Ministry of Health & Welfare of the Republic of Korea (MOH) and the International Vaccine Institute (IVI) signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) on a collaboration to advance global public health, and to develop and deliver vaccines and related technologies for developing countries. Dr. Chung Chin-youb, Minister of Health & Welfare, visited the IVI headquarters at Seoul National University Research Park on April 3rd and exchanged the MOU with IVI Director General Dr. Jerome Kim, and discussed plans on mutual cooperation between Korea and the institute.

Established in 1997, IVI was the first international organization headquartered in Korea.  As IVI’s host country, Korea provides funding through its Official Development Assistance (ODA) to the institute for its vaccine research and operations. Up until recently, the institute was under the Ministry of Education. This MOU is a revision of the MOU signed in 2013 between the Ministry of Education and IVI, and includes newly added areas of support and expanded cooperation between IVI and MOH such as joint vaccine R&D projects and capacity-building initiatives.

Under the purview of MOH, IVI will continue to receive funding from the Korean government to support its operations as per the original host country agreement signed between IVI and Korea. The Ministry will also continue to support IVI’s vaccine research and development activities to help the institute fulfill its mission of making safe, effective and affordable vaccines available for global health.

Finally IVI and the Ministry agreed to actively support exchange and cooperation programs in Korea by collaborating more with Korean universities, research institutes and the life sciences industry.  Notably, IVI and the Korean Centers for Disease Control will partner to develop vaccines against norovirus and hepatitis A…
NIH  [to 8 April 2017]
April 5, 2017
Monoclonal antibody cures Marburg infection in monkeys
— NIH-funded groups preparing for next filovirus outbreak.
Scientists funded by the National Institutes of Health have found that an experimental treatment cured 100 percent of guinea pigs and rhesus monkeys in late stages of infection with lethal levels of Marburg and Ravn viruses, relatives of the Ebola virus. Although the Marburg and Ravn viruses are less familiar than Ebola virus, both can resemble Ebola in symptoms and outcomes in people, and both lack preventive and therapeutic countermeasures.

NIDA announces recipients of 2017 Avant-Garde Awards for HIV/AIDS research
April 5, 2017 — NIH awards highlight novel approaches to HIV prevention and treatment.
The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), part of the National Institutes of Health, today announced that three scientists have been selected to receive the 2017 Avant-Garde Award for HIV/AIDS Research. The winning proposals focus on a variety of novel approaches, including: improving HIV prevention through effective gene therapies; enhancing innate (natural) immunity against HIV and other related viruses; and developing new small-molecule drugs to treat HIV-1 infection.

The three scientists will each receive $500,000 per year for five years to support their research, subject to the availability of funds. NIDA’s tenth annual Avant-Garde Award competition is intended to stimulate high-impact research that may lead to groundbreaking opportunities for the prevention and treatment of HIV/AIDS in drug users.

“With nearly 37 million people living with HIV worldwide, it is essential that researchers continue to develop effective prevention and treatment strategies for those suffering from this devastating disease, including people with substance use disorders,” said NIDA Director Nora D. Volkow, M.D. “These scientists are pioneering exciting new approaches aimed at preventing and treating new cases of HIV and helping people at risk live longer, healthier lives.”

Awardees are listed below:
Michael Farzan, Ph.D., The Scripps Research Institute
Project: A safety switch for an effective HIV-1 vaccine
Dr. Farzan plans to use preclinical models to explore safe and effective gene therapies for the long-term prevention of HIV infection in high-risk populations, such as injection drug users. He will use an adeno-associated virus to deliver broadly neutralizing antibodies (bNAbs) or eCD4-Ig, proteins that prevent HIV-1 from infecting cells. His group will also explore safety switch mechanisms to control bNAbs and eCD4-Ig, thereby increasing safety during long-term exposure to these molecules.

Eric M. Poeschla, Ph.D., University of Colorado Denver
Project: Novel Approaches to Innate Immunity Against HIV-1 and Other Co-infection Viruses
Dr. Poeschla will use animal and human cells to explore the use of viral RNA-dependent RNA polymerase (RdRP) to enhance broad-spectrum (innate) immunity against various viruses, including HIV-1. Evidence suggests that this stable innate immune system activation does not trigger autoimmunity or inflammatory pathways. This approach may also protect against viruses that infect people with addiction.

Peter S. Kim, Ph.D., Stanford University
Project: Making the HIV-1 gp41 pocket amenable to small-molecule drug discovery
Dr. Kim’s group proposes a strategy that alters the HIV-1 gp41 region, thereby increasing structural rigidity in this region. This will enhance testing of new therapeutics that target the gp41 pocket to prevent HIV infection. Because the pocket is structurally similar across different HIV-1 strains, these therapeutics could treat patients, including people with substance use disorders, who are at higher risk of developing resistance to one or more classes of anti-HIV drugs…

International scientific teams find potential approach against parasites
April 3, 2017 — Research teams from the National Institutes of Health and abroad have identified the first inhibitor of an enzyme long thought to be a potential drug target for fighting disease-causing parasites and bacteria. The teams, led by NIH’s National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS) and University of Tokyo scientists, sorted through more than 1 trillion small protein fragments called cyclic peptides to uncover two that could shut down the enzyme. The finding, reported April 3, 2017 in Nature Communications, could set the stage for the potential development of new types of antimicrobial drugs…

Sabin Vaccine Institute  [to 8 April 2017]
Tuesday, April 4, 2017
Public Health Experts Discuss Vaccines, Antibiotic Resistance and Surveillance at Conference on Typhoid and Other Invasive Salmonelloses
KAMPALA, UGANDA – April 4, 2017 – Today, the Sabin Vaccine Institute opened the 10th International Conference on Typhoid and Other Invasive Salmonelloses in Kampala, Uganda. Over the course of the three day conference, more than 300 experts from around the world have gathered to discuss new typhoid-related research, as well as how to turn this evidence into action in the fight against typhoid.

Typhoid fever, an illness caused by the bacteria Salmonella Typhi, kills an estimated 220,000 people, primarily children, each year. Currently available typhoid vaccines are underutilized in low- and middle-income countries, including many countries in Africa and Asia. Vaccines for other, nontyphoidal strains of Salmonella bacteria are not available. Typhoid is treated with antibiotics, but the recent rise of antibiotic-resistant typhoid and nontyphoidal Salmonella has increased the burden of treatment on health systems and families. There is an urgent need for new effective vaccines and policies to help prevent the disease and its transmission in communities. Preventing typhoid will minimize the need to treat this serious infection and will also reduce the danger of antibiotic resistance.

There has been significant progress in typhoid vaccine development. New typhoid conjugate vaccines offer important advantages over prior vaccines, including longer duration of protection, the ability to protect young children, and the potential for delivery with other vaccines in routine immunization of infants. Conjugate vaccines have the potential to dramatically reduce the burden of typhoid around the world and, consequently, help to prevent the occurrence of antibiotic resistance. The research shared at Sabin’s conference – the world’s only such meeting devoted to typhoid and other invasive salmonelloses – will inform discussions at the World Health Organization later this month, when experts gather to review recommendations on the use of typhoid vaccines…

“This conference comes at a pivotal moment for global action on typhoid,” said Bruce Gellin, president of Global Immunization at the Sabin Vaccine Institute. “…To have the greatest impact, we need to review the evidence for these vaccines and consider the vaccination programs in which they will be delivered. The discussions and debates over the next three days at this conference will help the researchers, policy makers and advocates meet the urgent need for prevention and control.”…


AERAS  [to 8 April 2017]
Aeras Updates – Quarterly Newsletter
5 April 2017
:: Aeras celebrates World TB Day 2017
:: World TB Day Europe: Personal Stories and Focusing on AMR
:: Aeras Asia: Leveraging Social Media to Promote World TB Day Messages
:: Aeras Africa: Using World TB Day to Spark Discussion About TB R&D

Global Fund [to 8 April 2017];&country=

Global Fund Welcomes Italy’s €140 million Contribution
07 April 2017
The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria welcomed a contribution of €140 million from the government of Italy for the three-year period beginning in 2017, a strong demonstration of Italy’s leadership in global health.

The Global Fund and Pink Ribbon Red Ribbon Partner to Prevent and Control Cervical Cancer
06 April 2017
Today, leaders of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria and Pink Ribbon Red Ribbon signed an agreement to collaborate on programming to prevent cervical cancer. HIV positive women are up to five times more likely to develop cervical cancer, so routine screening and treatment is essential for this population. Screening and treatment for cervical pre-cancer is a cost-effective intervention, costing less than $25 per woman. Pink Ribbon Red Ribbon will work with countries to integrate cervical cancer programming into their HIV/AIDS grants from the Global Fund, building on efforts by national governments and the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR).

FDA [to 8 April 2017]
April 07, 2017
FDA approves two hepatitis C drugs for pediatric patients

 What’s New for Biologics
:: February 8, 2017 Transcript – Identification and Characterization of the Infectious Disease Risks of Human Cells, Tissues, and Cellular and Tissue-based Products (PDF – 2.7MB)
Posted: 4/4/2017
:: February 9, 2017 Transcript – Identification and Characterization of the Infectious Disease Risks of Human Cells, Tissues, and Cellular and Tissue-based Products (PDF – 1.4MB)
Posted: 4/4/2017


Wellcome Trust  [to 8 April 2017]
News / Published: 7 April 2017
Public invited to help tackle antibiotic resistance
A new citizen science project, BashTheBug (opens in a new tab), has been launched to study antibiotic resistance in tuberculosis (TB).
On the Zooniverse website (opens in a new tab), volunteers are shown a series of small, circular wells each containing Mycobacterium tuberculosis, which causes TB, and a different dose of an antibiotic.
They are then asked to identify wells in which the bacteria have grown, helping the researchers to determine which antibiotics are effective at killing each specific strain of TB.
“Antibiotic resistance is a global threat, and accurately and rapidly diagnosing drug-resistant disease places a huge strain on hospital laboratories,” says Dr Philip Fowler, lead researcher on the BashTheBug project.
“Knowing which antibiotics are effective against a particular bacterial infection is crucial for effectively treating a patient, while also limiting the opportunity for the bug to develop antibiotic-resistance and then be passed onto other people.”
“Cultivating and examining TB plates is a time-consuming process, but by enlisting extra help online we hope to examine over 40 million images, something we could never do on our own…


Industry Watch  [to 8 April 2017]
:: Takeda Completes Enrollment of More Than 20,000 Children and Adolescents in Global Phase 3 Trial of Dengue Vaccine Candidate
   Tetravalent Immunization against Dengue Efficacy Study (TIDES) trial evaluates the efficacy of two doses of vaccine candidate TAK-003, administered three months apart, to protect against all four strains of dengue virus, regardless of previous dengue exposure
   Study includes children and adolescents ages 4 through 16 years in eight dengue-endemic countries across Latin America and Asia
   Achieving enrollment demonstrates Takeda’s commitment to advancing global vaccine business and addressing unmet needs in dengue prevention
April 05, 2017 08:00 AM Eastern Daylight Time
OSAKA, Japan–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Takeda Pharmaceutical Company Limited today announced that it has completed enrollment of 20,100 children and adolescents ages 4 through 16 in its global, pivotal Phase 3 Tetravalent Immunization against Dengue Efficacy Study (TIDES) trial, a double-blind, randomized and placebo-controlled study designed to evaluate the efficacy, safety and immunogenicity of its live-attenuated tetravalent dengue vaccine candidate (TAK-003).1 Takeda initiated the TIDES trial, the largest vaccine clinical trial for Takeda to date, in September 2016 and completed enrollment in less than seven months.1 …
“The successful enrollment of more than 20,000 children and adolescents in this Phase 3 trial, across several continents, and on an ambitious timeline, while maintaining a clear focus on quality and subject safety, reflects Takeda’s prioritization of dengue and the substantial capabilities of our global organization,” said Rajeev Venkayya, MD, President of the Global Vaccine Business Unit at Takeda…