Pharma News in Global Health and Sustainability

A roundup of developments in global health and sustainability from the bio/pharmaceutical industry, its suppliers, and other public and private organizations.
Dec 04, 2013
By PharmTech Editors

GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) reports that a simple low-cost device that helps newborn babies to breathe has been awarded the highest fund in the first GSK and Save the Children $1-million Healthcare Innovation Award.The life-saving kit, called a "bubble" Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (bCPAP) is used to help babies in respiratory distress, which is often caused by acute respiratory infections like pneumonia. CPAP devices use air pressure to keep patients airways open, and as there are few wall-mounted air supplies in Malawi hospitals, the newly innovated bCPAP air pump works on its own. Plus it is made of durable materials that are inexpensive and easy to repair. A similar version is already commonly used in developed countries where they cost at least $6,000 each. This innovative low-cost bubble CPAP adaptation can be produced for approximately $400.The organization behind the innovation and recipients of a $400,000 share of the $1-million award is Friends of Sick Children, Malawi, a partnership between the pediatric department of Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital in Blantyre, Malawi, Rice 360°: Institute for Global Health Technologies in the United States and the University of Malawi College of Medicine. The funding from the Healthcare Innovation Award, along with backing from the Ministry of Health in Malawi, will mean use of the device can be replicated and expanded to Tanzania, Zambia, and South Africa.

Sanofi Pasteur, the vaccines division of Sanofi and provider of oral and inactivated polio vaccines (OPV and IPV) commended the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization (GAVI) for their recently announced support of the introduction of IPV in routine immunization in the world’s 73 poorest countries. The combined use of OPV and IPV is expected to improve immunity in countries threatened by the resurgence of polio. The support from GAVI Alliance paves the way for the implementation of the recommendation from the World Health Organization’s (WHO) expert group on immunization (SAGE) that all countries introduce at least one dose of injectable inactivated polio vaccine (IPV) in routine polio immunization programs.The GAVI Board also announced it intends to enlarge the Alliance’s vaccine portfolio. GAVI will further support yellow fever vaccination in endemic regions and will contribute to a global cholera vaccine stockpile for use in epidemic and endemic settings.