$75 million given pneumonia vaccine study

April 3, 2006 at 3:26 PM

SEATTLE, April 3 (UPI) -- The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has given $75 million to a Seattle-based research group to create inexpensive pneumonia vaccines for poor nations.

"We're hoping to be a catalyst to encourage scientists and manufacturers to take a different approach to this problem," said Dr. John Boslego, chief of vaccine development at Seattle's Program for Appropriate Technology in Health, or PATH, the Seattle Post-Intelligencer reported Monday.

PATH has managed many of the Gates Foundation's other global health projects, the newspaper said.

The grant was to be announced Monday during the Fifth International Symposium on Pneumococci and Pneumococcal Diseases in Alice Springs, Australia.

Although children in the United States and Europe are routinely vaccinated against the leading strain of the pneumonia bacteria, the Western vaccine does not protect well against varying strains found in developing nations, where 90 percent of pneumococcal deaths occur, the Post-Intelligencer reported.

Pneumonia kills at least 1 million children annually around the world.

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