Gates charity boosts funding for malaria vaccine research

Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation says it will grant $258 million toward malaria vaccine and drug development efforts.

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation on Sunday announced $258.3 million in new grants to fund the development of a vaccine and new drugs to combat malaria.

The Malaria Vaccine Initiative will get $107.6 million, with which GlaxoSmithKline Biologicals and African researchers plan to test and license a malaria vaccine candidate in Africa over five-year period, the foundation said. Another $100 million has been allocated to the Medicines for Malaria Venture to fund the development of new malaria drugs. A third grant, of $50 million, will go to the Innovative Vector Control Consortium for promoting enhanced insecticides and mosquito control methods such as insecticide-treated bed nets.

Officials of the foundation said each organization being funded has developed plans to ensure that new vaccines and drugs will be accessible and affordable in poor countries. MMV is developing 20 promising compounds, and six are already in clinical trials. Its portfolio includes drugs that will cure malaria in three once-a-day doses and cost $1 or less.

Health initiatives to fight diseases such as HIV, tuberculosis and malaria have been the top priority of the Gates charity organization. It is working with several private and government partners in Asia and Africa to promote research and other related work.

"Millions of children have died from malaria because they were not protected by an insecticide-treated bed net or did not receive effective treatment," Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates said in a statement. "If we expand malaria control programs and invest what's needed in (research and development), we can stop this tragedy."

 

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