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International News

Bill Gates Announces Grant to Solve World's Health Challenges

January 27, 2003

Microsoft founder Bill Gates has announced a $200 million grant to help identify and solve the "grand challenges in global health" that the private sector has little financial incentive to tackle.

Under the program, announced at the annual World Economic Forum Sunday in Switzerland, a panel of top scientists will draft a list of critical problems whose solution could lead to important advances for the developing world, such as novel ways to combat HIV/AIDS or to prevent mosquitoes from transmitting malaria.

The Foundation for the National Institutes of Health in Washington will award grants of up to $20 million to investigate those critical problems. "This to me is an opportunity for us to come together as a world community to find world solutions to health problems affecting all of us," said US Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy Thompson, whose department includes the National Institutes of Health.

At a news conference with Gates, Thompson noted Secretary of State Colin Powell's recent remarks that the fight against HIV infection and AIDS is "bigger than the war on terror." "People really don't understand that, but it truly is," Thompson said.

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Chairing the board will be Dr. Harold Varmus, a Nobel laureate and president of the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York. NIH Director Elias Zerhouni, who will also serve on the board, noted that his agency -- one of the world's leading centers on biomedical research -- spends $2.6 billion annually on AIDS -- "which affects obviously the United States" -- and only about $300 million on other global health issues.

"So about 10, 11 percent of our budget relates to potentially 90 percent of the urgent diseases in the world," he said. He said he hoped the new "public-private" model would help fill the gap in research capacity. "Progress will not be made unless we are able to interest the ... topflight scientists today to get involved in adapting all the progress we have made to date ... to the diseases that affect the developing world," he said.

Back to other CDC news for January 27, 2003

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Adapted from:
Associated Press
01.27.03; Paul Geitner



  
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This article was provided by CDC National Prevention Information Network. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update.
 

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