Gates<>Accelerate HIV Vaccine Development
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August 9, 2006
Global Fund Announces $500 Million Contribution From Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
GENEVA -- The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria announced today that it has received a contribution of US$500 million over five years from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
“The Global Fund is one of the most important health initiatives in the world today,” said Bill Gates, Co-Chair of the Gates Foundation. “The Fund has an excellent track record, and we need to do everything we can to support its continued success, which will save millions of lives.”
The announcement comes the week before more than 20 000 researchers, health workers, advocates, and policymakers meet in Toronto to discuss progress and prospects in the fight against AIDS.
“We are extremely grateful to the Gates Foundation for this show of confidence in the Global Fund,” said Richard Feachem, Executive Director of the Global Fund. “The Global Fund has proven itself to be an effective way to reach millions of people with urgently needed medicines and other services. This new commitment by the Gates Foundation will enable us to reach millions more.”
“The Gates Foundation has played an important role in making the Global Fund the effective and innovative organization it is today,” said Dr. Carol Jacobs, Chairman of the Global Fund’s Board. “I hope that other donors, especially those from the private sector, will come together to ensure long-term, sustainable financing for the Global Fund.”
Since its launch four years ago, the Global Fund has become a major funder of global efforts to combat AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria. With grants from the Global Fund, 132 countries have begun to produce substantial results, including 544,000 people provided with life-extending HIV/AIDS treatment, more than 1.4 million people treated for TB, and more than 11 million bed nets distributed to protect children from malaria.
“As we move from crisis management to a sustained AIDS response, we will continue to rely on the Global Fund as the best model to provide strategic and predictable funding,” said Dr Peter Piot, Executive Director, UNAIDS. “A fully funded Global Fund is absolutely critical to the AIDS response. Without it, it will be difficult to turn all of the good ideas and strategic plans into reality on the ground.”
“The Global Fund has helped drive progress on AIDS, TB, and malaria that was unthinkable just a few years ago,” said Melinda Gates, Co-Chair of the Gates Foundation. “This is a funding model that works, and the need is great. We hope all donors – public and private, large and small – will step up their support and make long-term commitments."
“The impact of the Global Fund can be seen in towns and villages throughout Rwanda,” said President Paul Kagame of Rwanda. “Thousands of people who would otherwise be dead are healthy and working to build a better future for their families and our country. The Global Fund has provided us with the support we need to drive back AIDS and other diseases, and I am happy to see that this contribution will help it continue to do so for years to come.”
“With the support of the Global Fund, Tanzania has begun to make inroads against the terrible toll of the three diseases,” said Lucy Ng’ang’a, Executive Director of the Eastern African National Network of AIDS Service Organizations. “Children are sleeping safely under protective bed nets, TB patients are being cured, and people with AIDS are receiving medications that can keep them healthy for decades. The Gates Foundation’s contribution to the Global Fund will help us to save the lives of more of our neighbors."
The Gates Foundation grant is structured so that $100 million will be provided each year from 2006 through 2010. The contributions for 2006 and 2007 will be available to support the Global Fund’s sixth round of financing, which is slated to be approved by the Fund’s board in November.
“Even with this support, it is likely that the Fund will need an additional $500 million to reach our goal of $1.1 billion to fully fund all of the grants that we expect to approve for our sixth round of funding,” said Richard Feachem. “With more resources, we can ensure that all high-quality, urgently needed projects have the support they need to save lives.”
The Gates Foundation’s contribution comes on the eve of the 16th International AIDS Conference in Toronto, the biennial gathering to assess the status of the pandemic and stake out global priorities. Bill and Melinda Gates will speak at the opening ceremony of the conference on August 13.
"The theme of the International AIDS Conference is ‘Time to Deliver,’” said Dr Mark Wainberg, co-chair of the conference. “The theme underscores the urgency of bringing effective HIV prevention, care, and treatment to communities the world over, and the need for stakeholders to fulfill their commitments, be they financial, programmatic, or political. I applaud the Global Fund and the Gates Foundation for taking the challenge of the conference theme to heart.”
Today’s grant brings the Gates Foundation’s total support for the Global Fund to $650 million. The foundation pledged $100 million to the Fund in 2001, and an additional $50 million in 2004.
The Global Fund is a unique global public-private partnership dedicated to attracting and disbursing additional resources to prevent and treat HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria. This partnership between governments, civil society, the private sector and affected communities represents a new approach to international health financing. The Global Fund works in close collaboration with other bilateral and multilateral organizations to supplement existing efforts dealing with the three diseases.
Apart from a high standard of technical quality, the Global Fund attaches no conditions to any of its grants. It is not an implementing agency, instead relying on local ownership and planning to ensure that new resources are directed to programs on the frontline of this global effort to reach those most in need. Its performance-based approach to grant-making is designed to ensure that funds are used efficiently and create real change for people and communities. All programs are monitored by independent organizations contracted by the Global Fund to ensure that its funding has an impact in the fight against these three pandemics.
Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
Guided by the belief that every life has equal value, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation works to reduce inequities and improve lives around the world. In developing countries, it focuses on improving health, reducing extreme poverty, and increasing access to technology in public libraries. In the United States, the foundation seeks to ensure that all people have access to a great education and to technology in public libraries. In its local region, it focuses on improving the lives of low-income families. Based in Seattle, the foundation is led by CEO Patty Stonesifer and Co-chairs William H. Gates Sr., Bill Gates, and Melinda French Gates.
...en toch ...via Letvin en Barouch...ook een stukje taart op het bordje van Crucell!!!
Mooi! (Voedsel voor de PR-machine).
Zie ook de BACKGROUNDER, pagina 2.
Contact: Bonnie Prescott
BOSTON -- Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC) is among a prominent group of 16 international research institutions that have been awarded grants from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation as part of a sweeping global initiative to develop a vaccine to protect against HIV, the virus responsible for AIDS. The grants, totaling $287 million, were announced on July 19.
Norman Letvin, MD, BIDMC’s Chief of Viral Pathogenesis, will serve as the principal investigator of a five-year, $18 million Gates Foundation grant for his work on adenovirus-vector based and mycobacteria-vector based vaccines, while BIDMC scientists Dan Barouch, MD, PhD, Raphael Dolin, MD, and Michael Seaman, PhD, as members of this and other teams, will also receive significant funding from the foundation. The generous grants are part of a large-scale, carefully coordinated international initiative – involving more than 19 countries and 165 investigators -- to develop an HIV vaccine and control the growing AIDS epidemic.
“This is a tremendous honor not only for Norm Letvin and the Division of Viral Pathogenesis, but for our entire BIDMC research enterprise,” notes Chief Academic Officer Jeffrey Flier, MD. “In addition to providing our scientists with critically important funding as they work to gain a better understanding of the HIV virus, these grants from the Gates Foundation offer further confirmation of the leading role BIDMC plays in the worldwide fight against this devastating disease.”
Adds Letvin, “On behalf of the Division of Viral Pathogenesis at BIDMC, I would like to express our sincere gratitude to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation for their generous support of our work and their steadfast commitment to contribute to developing a vaccine to protect against the HIV virus.
“It has been only 25 years since the first cases of AIDS were identified. Yet, in this brief period of time, HIV has taken an unthinkable toll on the human population. Five million new HIV infections occur each year; more than 40 million individuals are currently HIV positive; and more than 20 million people, worldwide, have already died from AIDS. While other public health crises have replaced AIDS in the headlines – be it SARS, mad cow disease or avian flu – AIDS continues to ravage human populations around the world. HIV-1 has devastated sub-Saharan Africa, where more than 25 percent of adults are infected with the virus in countries such as Botswana and Zimbabwe. At the present time, HIV-1 is spreading most rapidly in India, Central Asia and Eastern Europe.
“It’s clear that the need for cooperation and shared scientific resources among the world’s AIDS researchers has never been more urgent,” he notes. “We are privileged to be members of the Collaboration for AIDS Vaccine Discovery, the global consortium of investigators that has been created by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and look forward to working to accelerate the development of an effective vaccine to bring the AIDS epidemic under control.”
To learn more, see the Gates Foundation press release at www.gatesfoundation.org/GlobalHealth/... (An HIV Vaccine Center Backgrounder is located on the righthand side of the press release page. There you will find detailed descriptions of the program and individual grants.)
Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center is a major patient care, teaching and research affiliate of Harvard Medical School, and ranks fourth in National Institutes of Health funding among independent hospitals nationwide. BIDMC is clinically affiliated with the Joslin Diabetes Center and is a research partner of the Dana-Farber/Harvard Cancer Center. BIDMC is the official hospital of the Boston Red Sox. For more information, Visit www.bidmc.harvard.edu.
BIDMC’s AIDS Researchers Awarded Gates Foundation Grants
September 14, 2006
Gates Foundation Commits Nearly $70 Million to Help Fight Neglected Tropical Diseases
SEATTLE -- The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation today announced four grants totaling $68.2 million to help accelerate research on neglected tropical diseases, including hookworm, leishmaniasis, and trypanosomiasis, which kill or disable millions of people in the world’s poorest countries every year. One of the grants will support a new medical journal devoted to neglected diseases.
“Many of the world’s most debilitating illnesses are virtually unheard of in the rich world. But they’re a fact of life for millions of people in poor countries,” said Tachi Yamada, President of the Global Health Program at the Gates Foundation. “We hope our investment in solutions for these problems will spur other donors, governments, and researchers to take action, so that we can see the day when ‘neglected’ no longer applies to these diseases.”
Diseases such as hookworm, leishmaniasis, and trypanosomiasis are transmitted by parasites and worms and affect hundreds of millions of people every year in sub-Saharan Africa, Asia, and Latin America. In addition to causing death or lifelong disfigurement, they can stunt children’s growth and mental development.
No vaccines exist to prevent most of these diseases, and the limited drugs that are available often can be expensive, have serious side effects, or are becoming less effective due to growing drug resistance. Yet there are important scientific opportunities to develop better vaccines and new drugs. The four grants today include the following:
Infectious Disease Research Institute (IDRI), to develop a vaccine to treat leishmaniasis – $32 million: IDRI will develop a new therapeutic vaccine to safely and affordably treat leishmaniasis, a debilitating, and often fatal, parasitic disease that affects more than 12 million people in developing countries. Existing treatments for leishmaniasis require a long course of toxic, painful, and expensive injections. The grant supports a six-year program to develop the vaccine and conduct clinical trials in India, Sudan, and Brazil, countries where leishmaniasis is common.
Sabin Vaccine Institute (SVI), to develop a vaccine for hookworm – $13.8 million: SVI will develop a vaccine to prevent hookworm, which affects more than 600 million people worldwide and is a leading cause of anemia and malnutrition among children and women of reproductive age in many developing countries. The only method currently available to control hookworm is repeated drug treatment, which can lead to drug resistance. The grant supports the Human Hookworm Vaccine Initiative, an initiative of the SVI that partners with other research institutions in the U.S., Europe, Australia, and Brazil.
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC), to develop drugs to treat trypanosomiasis and leishmaniasis – $21.3 million: UNC will work to develop effective, inexpensive drugs to treat the late stages of leishmaniasis and trypanosomiasis. Trypanosomiasis, or “sleeping sickness,” kills 300,000 people every year in sub-Saharan Africa, and 65 million people are at risk of becoming infected. Current treatments are expensive, difficult to administer, and often toxic or ineffective. UNC will lead a consortium of researchers from the U.S., Europe, and Kenya to develop new and better drugs for the two diseases.
Public Library of Science (PLoS), to launch a new medical journal on neglected diseases – $1.1 million: PLoS will launch PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases, a new open-access, peer-reviewed medical journal covering science, policy, and advocacy on neglected tropical diseases. While other medical journals have increased their attention to neglected diseases in recent years, few journals focus on the topic. The new journal will provide an important forum for scientists from developed and developing countries to share the latest information on neglected disease research.
“While medical science has advanced at breakneck speed over the past century, research on most tropical diseases has languished, overlooked by many scientists and most funders. I hope that these grants will help spark a new era of accelerated research on neglected tropical diseases,” said Dr. Peter Hotez, Principal Scientist of SVI’s Human Hookworm Vaccine Initiative and Chair of the Department of Microbiology, Immunology, and Tropical Diseases at George Washington University. Dr. Hotez will speak on neglected diseases at the Clinton Global Initiative meeting in New York City on September 21.
Gates to help distribute cervical cancer vaccine
Wednesday, 4 October 2006
The cervical cancer vaccine discovered by Australian researcher Professor Ian Frazer will be distributed in Third World countries by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
The vaccine, called Gardasil, will be part of a program to prevent cervical cancer in developing countries.
Professor Frazer, director of the Centre for Immunology and Cancer Research at the University of Queensland and this year's Australian of the Year, said,"One of my major goals has been to get the vaccine out into the developing world."
A spokesperson for Merck, Sharp and Dohme, the pharmaceutical company which has produced the vaccine commercially, confirmed yesterday that it would work with the foundation to help introduce the vaccine to the world's most impoverished nations.
Professor Tony McMichael, of the National Centre for Epidemiology and Population Health at the ANU, said of the foundation's program, "It is a wonderful tribute to Australian research that is directed at making a difference to population health, preventing disease and saving lives."
The vaccine has been commercially available in Australia since last month. A spokesperson for CSL Ltd, Rachel David, said yesterday that about 10,000 doses had been distributed throughout Australia, the equivalent of complete programs for 3000 people.
But Dr David said that there was a misconception that the vaccine could only be used for men and women who were not sexually active. Clinical trials showed that women up to the age of 26 clearly benefited from vaccination whether or not they had been sexually active and regardless of the number of partners.
The cost for the three-dose vaccine was $450. Dr David said that CSL had made a submission to the Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Council to have Gardasil on the national immunisation program. That submission would be considered in November but it would only be possible to implement it at a school level from 2008.
Director of cytology at Capital Pathology in Canberra Jane Twin said she welcomed the launch of the vaccine. "It is going to reduce the burden of disease," she said.
A spokesperson for ACT Sexual Health and Family Planning said that there had so far been only two clients requesting the vaccine.
A new force in funding
With its deep pockets, the Gates Foundation is becoming a leader in underwriting research, luring even applicants that don't specialize in its core areas of education and healthcare
By Robert Weisman | October 22, 2006
CAMBRIDGE -- In the technology research bazaar, ever alert to shifts in funding, there's a new high roller bellying up to the bar.
The deep-pocketed Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, with a $31.9 billion endowment and a $30 billion commitment from Warren Buffett , last winter gave $2.5 million to the Broad Institute of Harvard and MIT to fund a pilot study to create a genetic map of malaria.
Over the summer, the Gates Foundation donated $2 million to help Boston's Partners in Health run a training program in Rwanda on HIV treatment and prevention. It previously had given $44.7 million to the Harvard-affiliated nonprofit group, co founded by medical anthropologist Paul Farmer , for research on tuberculosis in Peru and Russia.
Even labs that have no Gates money, and have done little work in the foundation's core areas of interest, health and education, are being drawn to the magnetic new force in research underwriting.
Draper Laboratory engineers are working under a modest $112,000 grant from the World Health Organization to develop a sensor-based breath analyzer to test for tuberculosis. But when it comes to building a prototype and testing it in a Third World field trial, Draper will be seeking a larger grant from a source it has never tapped: the Seattle-based Gates Foundation.
A few blocks away from Draper, administrators at the MIT Media Lab are in talks with the Gates Foundation about funding for a variety of research projects in the health care and aging fields.
"With the resources they're putting out, their magnitude, and their scale, the Gates Foundation is attracting a lot of interest," said James D. Shields , who took over this month as chief executive of Draper, a non profit research and development lab that is expanding into biomedical and other fields from its traditional base in ballistic missile guidance and space systems.
The role of the Gates Foundation, whose stated mission is "to help reduce inequities in the United States and around the world," has been growing steadily since it was formed in 2000 by Microsoft Corp. founder Bill Gates , the world's richest man, and his wife, Melinda French Gates . Bill Gates stunned the business world in June when he said he would step away from daily operations at the software company in two years to devote most of his time to running the foundation.
Later that month, Buffett, the legendary investor who is a close friend of Gates, said he would give away the bulk of his $42 billion fortune to five foundations, with the Gates Foundation getting by far the largest chunk. Buffett's gift made the already richly endowed Gates Foundation a formidable force in the research world -- especially in global health, where it is increasingly focused -- at a time when traditional funding sources have become less reliable
The foundation, which has made grants totaling $11 billion over the past six years, including $1.3 billion last year, declined to make a representative available for an interview. Roughly half of its grants have been in the health arena, with most of the rest focused on education, according to the foundation.
But people in the Boston area research community suggest the Gates Foundation is making its influence felt in two ways. It has shown a willingness to back long-term research at a time when many funding sources, like corporations and government agencies, have shifted their focus to shorter-term projects. And while agencies like the National Institutes of Health direct much of their funding to chronic diseases afflicting Americans, the Gates group has been bankrolling projects aimed at solving health problems in the developing world.
"This is letting people take on the problems of previously neglected diseases for which it was impossible to get significant funding in the past," said Eric S. Lander , director of the Broad Institute, a biomedical research collaborative. "It's empowering a generation of young scientists who want to be working on these problems."
Jim Yong Kim , founding trustee and former executive director of Partners in Health, said Gates himself brings an "extreme results-oriented approach," honed at Microsoft, to the challenges of stopping HIV transmission and halting deaths from malaria in poor countries. In a round of vaccine grants earlier this year, for example, Gates required recipients -- labs that historically have vied with one another -- to share methodology and even preliminary research data.
"They're turning up the thermostat almost immeasurably," Kim said. "They're insisting that projects get implemented, and get implemented as soon as possible. Bill and Melinda Gates are fundamentally changing the entire field of global health. They're changing the way we think about what is and is not possible."
Their hands-on approach was on display in July when Bill and Melinda Gates visited a Rwanda hospital where Partners in Health runs a training program. Along with other philanthropic groups active in world health projects, from the Rockefeller Foundation to the Wellcome Trust of the United Kingdom, the Gates group increasingly is setting the agenda for researchers.
"It's almost like another huge NIH pool," said Kenan E. Sahin , founder and president of Tiax LLC, a Cambridge research and development company. "If one looks at where they're putting their money, it's a predictor of what might happen."
While the Gates Foundation is preparing to boost its grant-making to about $3 billion a year by 2008, that remains a fraction of the $27 billion annually invested in medical research by the NIH.
But the foundation has hired some of the top health experts in their fields. "Gates probably has a deeper health care staff than anybody out there in the foundation space," said Momenta Pharmaceuticals Inc. chief executive Craig A. Wheeler , who has worked with the foundation on global health issues.
And it has reduced the risk for companies investing in research on diseases prevalent in the Third World by striking partnerships with governments to guarantee a market for new drugs and treatments.
"What the Gates Foundation has done is to come into the research marketplace with a new approach," said Nils Daulaire , chief executive of the Global Health Council in White River Junction, Vt., a policy and advocacy group working in developing countries. "It's beginning to correct the market failure in research and development for the past 50 years: People most in need of product -- drugs and technology for better health -- have no purchasing power."
Perhaps the biggest impact of the gifts from Gates and fellow billionaire Buffett may be the message they send to other wealthy business leaders. "They'll be an enormous impetus," said Victor Zue , co director of MIT's Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory. "It's not only that they're making these investments, but they're setting the example for other people to make investments."
Robert Weisman can be reached at email@example.com.
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