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Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Rewards 76 New Ideas to Fight Infectious Disease

Scientists from Africa and Europe selected for their unconventional projects to accelerate the eradication of malaria, HIV and AIDS, tuberculosis and other 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 across 16 countries, including nine in Europe and Africa with ideas as diverse as using the power of sunlight to kill malaria-causing mosquito larvae and developing a device that repels mosquitoes without insecticides.

"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."

This marks the third round of the foundation's Grand Challenges Explorations initiative to expand the pipeline of ideas for improving global health. To date, 262 researchers representing 30 countries have been awarded Grand Challenges Explorations grants.

In total, 76 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. This year's European and African grantees are based at universities, research institutes, nonprofit organizations, and private companies in Kenya, South Africa, Uganda, Zambia, Finland, Italy, the Netherlands, Sweden and the UK. Examples of newly-funded projects include:

  • Innovative ways to diagnose infectious diseases:
    • Jackie Obey from the University of Eastern Africa in Kenya will test the efficacy of a test tube kit to indicate the presence of a protein released by the malaria parasite New strategies to fight malaria and mosquitoes
  • New strategies to fight malaria and mosquitoes:
    • Annette Habluetzel of the University of Camerino in Italy will create a micropellet food which, when activated by the sun, could generate toxins that kill mosquito larvae
    • Peter Lubega Yiga of AdhocWorks Foundation in South Africa will test the efficacy of a fermentation-based household mosquito repellent
  • More effective vaccines:
    • Margaret Njoroge of Med Biotech Laboratories in Uganda will develop an intranasal vaccine for mothers, designed to induce antibodies against malaria in breast milk and confer immunity on their babies

Notes to Editor

About Grand Challenges Explorations

Grand Challenges Explorations is a five-year, $100 million initiative to promote innovation in global health. It is part of the Grand Challenges in Global Health initiative, which is supported by the Gates Foundation to achieve major breakthroughs in global health.

Applications for the next round of Grand Challenges Explorations are being accepted through November 2, 2009. Grant application instructions, including the list of topics for which proposals are currently being accepted, are available at

Guided by the belief that every life has equal value, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation works to help all people lead healthy, productive lives. In developing countries, it focuses on improving people's health and giving them the chance to lift themselves out of hunger and extreme poverty. In the United States, it seeks to ensure that all people--especially those with the fewest resources--have access to the opportunities they need to succeed in school and life. Based in Seattle, Washington, the foundation is led by CEO Jeff Raikes and Co-chair William H. Gates Sr., under the direction of Bill and Melinda Gates and Warren Buffett. Learn more at

For high-resolution still photography and information about the foundation's work, please visit:

Round 3 Winners in Africa

  • Jackie Obey, University of Eastern Africa, Baraton, Kenya: 'Malaria diagnosis using iron and plasma'
  • Margaret Njoroge-Mendi, Med Biotech Laboratories, Uganda: 'Maternal Immunization to protect infants against malaria'
  • Dr Sungano Mharakurwa, Malaria Institute at Macha, Zambia: 'Pre-Season Elimination of Malaria Carrier Infections'
  • Peter Lubega Yiga, AdhocWorks CC, South Africa: 'A fermentation-based mosquito-repelling device'

Round 3 Winners in Europe

  • Claudia Pastori, Fondazione S. Raffaele del Monte Tabor, Italy: 'Induction of HIV protective mucosal antibodies'
  • Dr Edward Dolk, Utrecht University, The Netherlands: 'Increased mucosal immunity combined with excretion of HIV'
  • Dr Michael Lebens, University of Gothenburg, Sweden: 'A novel effective vaccine against cholera'
  • Dr Shahid Khan, University of Leiden Medical Centre, The Netherlands: 'Preventing malaria in both host and vector'
  • Dr Annette Habluetzel, University of Camerino, Italy: 'Photocidal porphyrin micro-pellets for larvae control'
  • Dr Matthew Fuchter, Imperial College, London, UK: 'Targeting of the P. falciparum Immune Evasion Mechanism to Treat Malaria'
  • Lena Hulden, University of Helsinki, Finland: 'Seasonal vivax malaria eradication'
  • Dr Jeremy Webb, University of Southampton, UK: 'New whole-species pneumococcal vaccines'
  • Dr Federica Marelli-Berg, Imperial College, London, UK: 'Programming T cell homing to induce gut-selective immunity'
  • Dr Roly Gosling, London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, UK: 'Targeting hotspots in rural poorly-resourced settings'

SOURCE Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

SOURCE Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
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