Microsoft billionaire Bill Gates has given $258 million to the battle against malaria, an amount equivalent to more than three quarters of global spending on research into the disease last year. He believes an expansion of malaria control programs, and investment in research and development, are needed to stop the tragedy.
Gates, who is providing three grants via the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, said it was a "disgrace" that the world had allowed malaria deaths to double in the last 20 years, when so much could be done to prevent the disease, according to Reuters.
The largest of the grants, $107.6 million, will go to a vaccine initiative working with GlaxoSmithKline Plc on late-stage clinical trials of its experimental vaccine, Mosquirix. The vaccine has already produced promising results in clinical trials but will not be available until after 2010. Another $100 million will be plowed into work to accelerate the development of several promising new drugs, while $50.7 million will pay for research to fast-track development of improved insecticides and other mosquito control methods, informs Herald News Daily.
Terms of funding, the mosquito-borne disease receives a scant attention from the world's governments, not-for-profit organizations and companies. For example, malaria receives .3 percent of the world's research and development investments, although its impact on global health exceeds that by at least 10 times, says ABC News.