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What We're Reading: Malaria Vaccine Tests; FDA Approves Generic Naloxone Nasal Spray; New Arsenic-Based Antibiotic

AJMC Staff
Tests are scheduled to commence April 23rd for a malaria vaccine; the FDA has approved the first generic nasal spray for opioid overdose reversal; scientists have discovered a new broad-spectrum, arsenic-based antibiotic. 

Researchers Preparing to Test Malaria Vaccine

A malaria vaccine, which could potentially reduce the number of infections and related deaths, is due to be tested, according to STAT News. Concerns remain whether the benefits of the vaccine can be repeated outside clinical trials. The World Health Organization (WHO) designed a beta test for the vaccine, named RTS,S and developed by GlaxoSmithKline, that will start April 23. Malawi will be the first nation to incorporate the vaccine into immunization programs for children, while Kenya and Ghana are expected to follow. The beta test will allow WHO to decide whether RTS,S could be used effectively and whether the results from a phase 3 clinical trial, which showed a 40% decrease in malaria infections, can be replicated in a real-world setting.

Generic Naloxone Nasal Spray for Overdose Reversal Gains FDA Approval

The FDA on Friday approved the first generic nasal spray version of naloxone (Narcan), which can reverse opioid overdoses, The New York Times reported. It has been sold in the United States as a nasal spray since 2016 and pharmacists have the ability to dispense the life-saving drug without a prescription. The drug’s manufacturer, Teva Pharmaceuticals, has not yet released the product’s price or its date of availability. More than 130 Americans die every day from opioid overdoses and the epidemic was responsible for over 47,600 American deaths in 2017.

Scientists Discover New Arsenic-Based Antibiotic

Researchers from Florida International University's Herbert Wertheim College of Medicine have discovered a new arsenic-based, broad-spectrum antibiotic that contains arsenic, Science Daily reported. The antibiotic, arsinothricin (AST), is naturally produced by soil bacteria and was found to be effective against a variety of bacteria. Although arsenic can be dangerous, AST toxicity tests were found not to kill human cells in tissue culture. The CDC has previously calculated that close to 2 million individuals in the United States are infected with drug-resistant bacteria each year which are responsible for causing nearly 23,000 annual deaths.

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