Bill Gates has once again put his money where his mouth is by donating almost U.S$70 million for research into fighting tropical diseases in the 'third world'.
The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation want to speed up research on neglected tropical diseases which kill or disable millions of people in the world's poorest countries every year.
The diseases such as hookworm, leishmaniasis, and trypanosomiasis are transmitted by parasites and worms and affect hundreds of millions of people every year in sub-Saharan Africa, Asia, and Latin America.
They cause death or lifelong disfigurement, and can stunt children's growth and mental development.
No vaccines exist to prevent most of these diseases, and the limited drugs that are available often can be expensive, have serious side effects, or are becoming less effective due to growing drug resistance.
There are important scientific opportunities to develop better vaccines and new drugs and the grants will be shared this way;
- $32 million to the Infectious Disease Research Institute (IDRI), to develop a vaccine to treat leishmaniasis.
- $13.8 million to the Sabin Vaccine Institute (SVI), to develop a vaccine for hookworm.
- $21.3 million to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC), to develop drugs to treat trypanosomiasis and leishmaniasis.
- $1.1 million to the Public Library of Science (PLoS), to launch a new medical journal on neglected diseases.
Bill Gates and his wife Melinda are driven by the belief that every life has equal value, and aim to reduce inequities and improve lives around the world.
Through the Foundation they focus in developing countries on improving health, reducing extreme poverty, and increasing access to technology.
In the United States, the foundation, which is based in Seattle, aims to ensure that all people have access to a great education and to technology in public libraries, while in the local region, it focuses on improving the lives of low-income families.