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Monday, 31 July, 2000, 10:38 GMT 11:38 UK
Gates pumps $40m into malaria research
Malaria is spread by mosquitoes
Microsoft boss Bill Gates has donated $40m to malaria research in the UK.

The money, from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, has been given to the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine.

The Gates Foundation donation comes just one week after the G8 commitment to reduce the burden of disease associated with malaria by 50% by 2010.

Malaria causes untold human suffering

Claire Short, International Development Secretary

Prime Minister Tony Blair has also pledged to double UK funding for the development of new treatments for diseases including malaria.

World-wide there are 300-500 million cases of malaria every year, and 3,000 children die each day from malaria in Africa.

The Gates Foundation money will support a new programme of research and training in London, Liverpool, Copenhagen, Malawi, Gambia, Ghana and Tanzania to develop new treatments and preventative measures co-ordinated by the London School.

Bill Gates
Bill Gates has donated millions of dollars

A key objective is to develop centres of excellence in Africa, where malaria remains a major problem.

Dr Gordon Perkin, Director of the Global Health Program at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, said: "The London School's track record demonstrates that it can bring together leading health institutions in Europe and Africa to develop, evaluate and implement new tools for malaria prevention and control.

"Malaria is the most prevalent tropical disease in the world today. Only through expanded research and partnerships will we begin to make progress in addressing this public health challenge."

Economic impact

The financial costs of malaria are enormous and hold back economic growth in poor countries with few resources

Professor Geoffrey Targett, London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine

Professor Geoffrey Targett, Acting Dean of the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, said: "The financial costs of malaria are enormous and hold back economic growth in poor countries with few resources.

The London School's world renowned group of laboratory scientists, epidemiologists, control experts and economists will be working with counterparts in Europe and Africa to contribute to the new international goal to halve global mortality in children by 2010."

Clare Short, International Development Secretary, welcomed the donation.

She said: "Malaria is one of the main barriers to development - causing untold human suffering, claiming millions of lives and placing unbearable strains on the economies of developing countries.

"The award of this grant reflects the UK's strong record in malaria work and of centres of excellence such as the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine."

Professor Eleanor Riley, an expert on infectious diseases, said that indiscriminate use of anti-malarials had already led to widespread drug resistance.

She said: "More research on the mechanisms by which resistance develops and spreads will allow us to extend the useful lifespan of the existing drugs but there is an urgent need also to develop and test new drugs, insecticides and vaccines."

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