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Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Funds 76 New Ideas to Improve Global Health, From Chewing Gum to Chocolate
Date:10/20/2009

Scientists from 16 countries selected for their unconventional projects to fight infectious diseases

ARUSHA, Tanzania, Oct. 20 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation today announced 76 grants of US$100,000 each to pursue bold ideas for transforming health in developing countries. The grants support researchers in 16 countries with ideas as diverse as developing an electronic nose to diagnose tuberculosis and using chocolate to help prevent malaria.

"Some of the biggest stumbling blocks in global health are now being overcome with promising new vaccines and treatments," said Dr. Tachi Yamada, president of the Gates Foundation's Global Health Program. "Grand Challenges Explorations will continue to fill the pipeline with possibilities and hopefully produce a breakthrough idea that could save untold numbers of lives."

In three rounds of the foundation's Grand Challenges Explorations initiative, 262 researchers representing 30 countries have been awarded grants. Newly-funded projects include efforts to develop a paper cup that turns TB-positive sputum samples a bright orange, use a peptide found in scorpions to block development of the malaria parasite, and adapt a protein that parasites use to seal their egg cases as a "sticky coating" for intranasal vaccines.

Grantees from round 3 were selected from almost 3,000 proposals. All levels of scientists are represented - from young post-graduate investigators to veteran researchers - as are a wide range of disciplines, such as chemistry, bioengineering, electronics, mechanical engineering, infectious disease, and epidemiology. They are based at universities, research institutes, nonprofit organizations, and private companies around the world. Examples include:

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