Bill Gates' $258m boost to malaria war

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By The Telegraph Online
  • Published 1.11.05

London, Oct. 31 (Reuters): Microsoft Corp. founder Bill Gates has pledged $258.3 million for research and development to combat malaria, including new cash to test the world's first vaccine against the mosquito-borne disease.

Gates, who is providing three grants via the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, said it was a “disgrace” that the world had allowed malaria deaths to double in the last 20 years, when so much could be done to prevent the disease.

The largest of the grants, $107.6 million, will go to a vaccine initiative working with GlaxoSmithKline Plc on late-stage clinical trials of its experimental vaccine, Mosquirix. The vaccine has already produced promising results in clinical trials but will not be available until after 2010.

Another $100 million will be ploughed into work to accelerate the development of several promising new drugs, while $50.7 million will pay for research to fast-track development of improved insecticides and other mosquito control methods.

Gates said that institutions such as the Liverpool school and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, which has also received money from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, deserved support as major contributors to the battle against diseases. In 1902 Sir Ronald Ross, a Liverpool lecturer, became the first British winner of a Nobel Prize for Medicine for discovering that malaria was transmitted through mosquitoes.