Monday, January 27, 2003
Gates offers millions for diseases of poor
His foundation will give away 0 million to fight such maladies as HIV, malaria.
By KEN MORITSUGU
Knight Ridder Newspapers
DAVOS, SWITZERLAND – Saying medical science has focused too much on diseases of the rich, Microsoft founder Bill Gates announced Sunday that his foundation would offer 0 million for work on malaria, tuberculosis and other diseases of the poor.
Only about 10 percent of medical research money is spent on diseases and conditions that make up 90 percent of the world's health problems, according to the Global Forum on Health Research, a Swiss foundation is supported by the World Health Organization, World Bank and Gates, among others.
Heart disease, cancer and the other diseases common in industrialized countries get most of the money.
Gates said he hopes the money will inspire medical students and researchers to think more about how they can improve human conditions. He announced the program at the World Economic Forum, an annual gathering of business and political leaders in the ski resort of Davos.
Possible research projects include looking into novel ways to prevent and treat HIV; making mosquitoes incapable of transmitting malaria, dengue and West Nile virus; and protecting children from life-threatening diarrhea and respiratory infections.
The Seattle-based Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, named for Gates and his wife, is launching the project by convening many of the world's most influential leaders in medical research to identify the "grand challenges" in global health. Grants of up to million will be awarded to delve into those challenges.
Dr. Harold Varmus, a Nobel laureate and president of Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York, will head the board. The National Institutes of Health will help run the program.