The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation today announced 76 grants of US$100,000 each “to pursue bold ideas for transforming health in developing countries” as part of its Grand Challenges Explorations program. The grants will support researchers in 16 countries. Dr. Tachi Yamada, president of the Gates Foundation’s Global Health Program, said, “Some of the biggest stumbling blocks in global health are now being overcome with promising new vaccines and treatments. The Grand Challenges Explorations will continue to fill the pipeline with possibilities and hopefully produce a breakthrough idea that could save untold numbers of lives.” Grantees from round 3 were selected from almost 3,000 proposals. Gates said “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.”
Grants involving vaccines and immunology included:
– Cecil Czerkinsky of the International Vaccine Institute in Korea will explore whether vaccines administered under the tongue can produce strong immune responses in distant organs such as the lungs and reproductive tract;
– 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;
– Kate Edwards, at the University of San Diego will study how a brief bout of exercise may enhance the efficiency of pneumococcal vaccine.