Global health gets $436 million boost

June 28, 2005 at 8:54 AM
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SEATTLE, June 28 (UPI) -- International scientists have been given 43 grants worth $436.6 million to find new ways to fight disease in poor countries.

The funding announced Tuesday was funneled into the Grand Challenges in Global Health initiative, with a $450 million total commitment from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, as well as two new funding donors: $27.1 million from the Wellcome Trust, and $4.5 million from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research.

Scientists in 33 countries will work on the challenges, which include developing childhood vaccines that do not require refrigeration, needles or multiple doses, to improve immunization rates in developing countries. Another project is learning to grow more nutritious staple crops to combat malnutrition, which affects more than 2 billion people worldwide.

The Grand Challenges initiative was launched by the Gates Foundation in 2003, in partnership with the National Institutes of Health.

"It's shocking how little research is directed toward the diseases of the world's poorest countries," said Bill Gates, co-founder of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

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