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Last Updated:  Monday, 31 March, 2003, 14:02 GMT 15:02 UK
Gates funds anti-HIV drive
Bill Gates
Bill Gates will fund new research
Microsoft founder Bill Gates has made $60m available to fund research into how to reduce the risk of HIV infection among women in developing countries.

The grant has been awarded to scientists from the International Partnership for Microbicides in Silver Spring, Maryland.

It will be used to help experts formulate an anti-HIV gel, cream or similar product.

Helene Gayle, director of HIV, TB and Reproductive Health for the Gates Foundation, said women were at greater risk of HIV infection than men.

Given the low availability of female condoms, it was important to find other way that women can protect themselves, she said.

"The imperative to find something that women can use to protect themselves from HIV is clear and urgent.

"The only technology we have is a male-controlled technology - a condom."

Ms Gayle said research into the development of microbicides had been neglected by the pharmaceutical industry because they were by no means certain to prove lucrative.

Zeda Rosenberg, IPM chief executive officer, said more than 50 microbial substances were currently under development.

Many years of testing lay ahead, she said, but it was possible that a microbicide could be available by the end of the decade.

"The grant will certainly help us more easily achieve our mission."




SEE ALSO:
Gates to partner NHS on IT
06 Dec 01  |  Health
Bill Gates: A profile
10 Feb 00  |  Microsoft


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