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Gates Foundation Commits $280 Million for Research to Fight Global TB Epidemic
Date:9/18/2007

11 new grants will speed development of TB vaccines, diagnostic tests, and

drugs in support of the Global Plan to Stop TB

SEATTLE, Sept. 18 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation announced today grants totaling $280 million to help fight tuberculosis, an epidemic that infects one-third of people on earth and kills nearly 2 million yearly - mostly in the poorest countries. The 11 new grants will speed research and development on promising vaccines, diagnostic tests, and treatments to help reduce the global TB burden.

"TB science has advanced significantly over the past five years, and these grants build on this momentum and the progress that has been made," said Dr. Tachi Yamada, president of the Gates Foundation's Global Health Program. "By bringing together a wide range of partners, including scientists from countries heavily affected by TB, we hope to help translate promising ideas into tools that can save millions of lives."

The grants focus on three key areas:

-- Vaccine development: $200 million over five years to the Aeras Global

TB Vaccine Foundation to conduct clinical trials of up to six TB

vaccine candidates

-- Diagnostics: $62 million over five years to the Foundation for

Innovative New Diagnostics (FIND) to develop TB tests that are more

accurate and simpler to use

-- Drug discovery: Nine grants totaling $18 million to identify new TB

treatments to combat drug resistance

The urgent need for better TB-fighting tools received worldwide attention earlier this year when an airline passenger from the United States traveled across borders with drug-resistant TB and exposed fellow travelers to the disease. This case highlighted the inadequacy of current TB diagnostic tools, which use technology that is more than 100 years old. In addition, the TB vaccine is more than 80 years old and rarely works after childhood, while
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SOURCE The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
Copyright©2007 PR Newswire.
All rights reserved

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