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Last Updated: Friday, 7 March 2008, 10:44 GMT
Tycoon gives 15m malaria grant
Bill Gates
Bill Gates has given the Liverpool school a number of grants
Scientists have been given a $30m (15.1m) grant by Microsoft tycoon Bill Gates to improve the treatment and control of malaria in pregnancy.

The Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine, which has now been given more than $100m (50.4m) by Gates, will lead the project with 38 worldwide partners.

Malaria is a major cause of severe maternal anaemia and low birth weight in infants, increasing risk of death.

About 50m women a year are affected by malaria across the world.

The Gates Foundation awarded the school a $50m grant in 2005 and grants totalling $27m in 2007 to research diseases.

Scientists estimate that more effective control of malaria during pregnancy could save the lives of up to 100,000 children every year in Africa, the school says.

Researchers will be attempting to improve their understanding of the burden malaria places on pregnant women outside of Africa, where there is less detailed information about its effects.

Mosquito

They say natural immunity is low and as a result has a much higher risk of the death of the mother, baby or both.

Scientists will also conduct further research into whether new anti malarial drugs can be used safely by pregnant women with malaria in Africa, Asia and Latin America.

Consortium leader Dr Feiko ter Kuile said the impact of malaria in pregnancy had until now been relatively neglected by research projects.

"This grant provides researchers from all over the world with the opportunity to conduct a much expanded and much needed research programme that is focussed on this other high risk group."

Liverpool scientists will work with a consortium of institutions in 28 countries, by using standardised methods and pooling information.

Dr Regina Rabinovich, of the Gates Foundation, said: "By undertaking this important research, Liverpool and its partners will help bring the world closer to the ultimate goal of malaria eradication."

SEE ALSO
Gates gives third disease grant
27 Mar 07 |  Merseyside
School thrives under new director
26 Dec 05 |  Merseyside
Centre set for third major grant
11 Nov 05 |  Merseyside
Gates gives 28m to malaria team
30 Oct 05 |  Health
Research grant for medical school
27 Oct 05 |  Merseyside
Ignored diseases 'kill 500,000'
10 Oct 05 |  Merseyside

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