Clinical Research/R&D

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Presidential Panel Reveals New Details Of 1940s Syphilis Experiments In Guatemala

“A presidential panel on Monday disclosed shocking new details of U.S. medical experiments done in Guatemala in the 1940s, including a decision to re-infect a dying woman in a syphilis study,” the Associated Press/Seattle Times reports. The final report of the bioethics commission’s review, which was ordered by President Barack Obama, is due next month, the news agency reports.

Forum For Collaborative HIV Research Discusses PrEP

Following an August 19 meeting convened by the Forum for Collaborative HIV Research to explore recent findings showing the success of pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP), “conference participants urged healthcare providers and the public to await further guidance from the CDC and FDA before considering using PrEP. However, if providers believe that initiating…

Injecting Mosquitoes With Bacterium Shows Potential For Dengue Elimination, Scientists Report

Injecting mosquitoes with the Wolbachia bacterium “can block them from transmitting the dengue virus and help control the spread of a disease that kills 20,000 annually in more than 100 countries,” a team led by Scott O’Neill, a geneticist at the University of Queensland in Brisbane, reports in two papers published in Nature on Thursday, Reuters reports. The “researchers in Australia showed how female mosquitoes infected with the Wolbachia bacteria passed the bug easily to their offspring, making them all dengue-free,” according to the news agency (Lyn, 8/24).

Foreign Drug Manufacturing, Testing Raise Regulatory And Ethical Concerns

JAMA discusses “a recent report from the Pew Health Group about the growing risks of substandard and counterfeit medications resulting from the increasing overseas production of pharmaceuticals and their ingredients.” According to JAMA, “The report notes that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) now estimates that as much as 40 percent of pharmaceuticals used by U.S. consumers are made in other countries, and 80 percent of active ingredients and bulk chemicals used in drug manufacturing come from foreign countries.” The report “recommends that pharmaceutical companies exert tighter control over their international suppliers, that Congress provide the FDA with more resources and greater authority to oversee foreign drug production, and that a universal system be created to track drugs from production to the pharmacy,” the journal writes (Kuehn, 8/24).

Research Into TB Medication May Shorten Treatment Regimen

Research of the common tuberculosis (TB) drug pyrazinamide, which is used in combination with other medications to treat the disease in a six-month regimen, “has now revealed that the drug does kill the latent form of the microbe, which does not cause observable symptoms,” VOA News reports.

Researchers Turn Their Attention To Chagas Disease As Developed Countries See Rise In Infection Rates

Chagas disease, a historically neglected tropical disease that the WHO estimates affects about 10 million people worldwide, is drawing increased attention as infection by the parasite spreads from Latin America to developed countries, such as Spain and the United States, Science reports. “The main reason for this rise isn’t the spread of insects carrying Trypanosoma cruzi but rather emigration from Latin America of large numbers of people who are already infected,” the magazine writes.

VOA News Examines New Drug Compound That Shows Broad-Based Efficacy In Lab Tests

VOA News looks at a new drug compound developed by researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) that they say has so far “killed every virus it’s been tested on in the laboratory.” “The drug – known by the acronym DRACO – works by chemically targeting viral-infected cells and prompting them to self-destruct, eliminating the disease in the process,” VOA writes.

Isolation of HIV Antibodies Advances Search For AIDS Vaccine

A team of researchers has “identified 17 potent antibodies whose discovery opened up valuable pathways in the search for an AIDS vaccine,” Agence France-Presse reports (8/17). The researchers “at and associated with the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative (IAVI), the Scripps Research Institute, the biotechnology company Theraclone Sciences and Monogram Biosciences Inc., a LabCorp company, report in the current issue of Nature” that the antibodies are “capable of neutralizing a broad spectrum of variants of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS,” according to a joint press release (8/17).

VOA News Examines Ethics Of Clinical Drug Testing In African Nations

VOA News examines the ethics of conducting clinical drug trials in developing countries, particularly in Africa. Several international ethical frameworks outline guidelines for clinical trials, “including the World Medical Association’s Declaration of Helsinki and the WHO’s Good Clinical Practice Guidelines,” but they are not mandatory, the news service writes.

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