TB vaccine quest gets second round of funding from public-private partnership

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Along with three new grants targeting neglected diseases carried by “kissing bugs” “snail carrying worms” and “gender-bending bacteria,” a second round of grants from the private-public partnership of the Global Health Innovative Technology Fund will continue to target a familiar foe, with an added $5.65 million to develop a vaccine against tuberculosis,

The GHIT fund announced an initial $700,000 for the project, a joint venture by the Washington, DC-based biotechnology nonprofit Aeras, Japan’s National Institute of Biomedical Innovation, and Japan’s Create Vaccine Co., Ltd., in November, as part of its approach to targeting “key poverty-exacerbating diseases.” The fund pools resources from the government of Japan, five Japanese pharmaceutical companies, the United Nations Development Program and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to finance new approaches to drugs and vaccines for some of the world’s most neglected diseases.

The additional TB vaccine development funding will further pre-clinical trial work on a new approach to keep tuberculosis bacteria from entering the lungs.

Other grants announced by the fund include ones for work targeting Chagas disease (carried by insects known as “kissing bugs”), Schistosomiasis (spread by parasitic worms borne by snails), and Wolbachia bacteria (that can take over — and change — the reproductive systems of their insect hosts) and that play a role in elephantiasis and river blindness.

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