The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
Foundation Funds 78 New Innovative Global Health Projects, Including Cell Phone Blood Tests, Carnivorous Plants, and Sweat-Triggered Vaccines
Grants from 18 countries poised to help prevent and diagnose infectious disease and promote family health
LONDON — The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation today announced 78 grants of US$100,000 each in the latest round of Grand Challenges Explorations. Grants include the development of a low-cost cell phone microscope to diagnose malaria, study of the strategic placement of insect-eating plants to reduce insect-borne diseases, and investigation of nanoparticles to release vaccines when they come in contact with human sweat. The grants support research across 18 countries and six continents.
“Grand Challenges Explorations continues to generate unique and creative ways to tackle global health issues,” said Dr. Tachi Yamada, president of the Gates Foundation’s Global Health Program. “We are convinced that some of these ideas will lead to new innovations and eventually solutions that will save lives.”
This year’s European grantees are based at universities, research institutes and non-profit organizations. The winners represent groups in Germany, Sweden, Norway and the UK.
Some examples of the breadth of projects funded this round include:
More effective vaccines:
Sweat-triggered vaccine delivery: Carlos Alberto Guzman of the Helmholtz Centre for Infection Research in Germany with Claus-Michael Lehr and Steffi Hansen of the Helmholtz-Institute for Pharmaceutical Research will develop nanoparticles that penetrate the skin through hair follicles and burst upon contact with human sweat to release vaccines.
A “seek-and-destroy” laser vaccine: Owain Millington and Gail McConnell of University of Strathclyde in the United Kingdom will use existing imaging systems to identify and destroy Leishmania parasites with a targeted laser;
New strategies to fight malaria:
Insecticide-treated traditional scarves: David Sintasath of the Malaria Consortium in Thailand will research whether treating traditional scarves worn by migrant workers along the Thai-Cambodia border with insecticides will reduce the rate of drug-resistant malaria.
Cell phone microscope to diagnose malaria: Aydogan Ozcan of the University of California, Los Angeles in the U.S. will test a low-cost, compact cell phone microscope to diagnose malaria in field settings.
Solutions to promote family health:
Ultrasound as a reversible male contraceptive: James Tsuruta and Paul Dayton of the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill in the U.S. will study the ability of ultrasound to temporarily deplete testicular sperm counts for possible use as new contraceptive method for men.
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 May 19, 2010.
Grant application instructions, including the list of topic areas in which proposals are currently being accepted, are available at the Grand Challenges Explorations website: www.grandchallenges.org.