SEATTLE, Oct. 31 (UPI) -- The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has given $258 million in malaria research grants.
The foundation says malaria kills an estimated 2,000 African children each day and takes the lives of more than 1 million people worldwide annually.
"For far too long, malaria has been a forgotten epidemic," said Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates, co-founder of the Gates Foundation. He called it "a disgrace that the world has allowed malaria deaths to double in the last 20 years."
The Seattle-based foundation -- the world's largest philanthropic foundation -- will soon spend more money than the U.S. government for malaria research.
The largest grant, for $107.6 million, was awarded the Seattle-based PATH Malaria Vaccine Initiative to work with GlaxoSmithKline Biologicals to complete testing and licensing of the most advanced malaria-vaccine candidate. A trial last year in Mozambique found the vaccine reduced severe malaria by 58 percent in children ages 1 to 4.
The Gates Foundation also awarded $100 million to the Geneva-based Medicines for Malaria Venture to develop new treatments; and $50.7 million to the Innovative Vector Control Consortium to develop improved insecticides and other mosquito-control methods.