Recipients will expand access to prevention and treatment tools and accelerate R&D.
The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation committed $83.5 million in new grants to combat malaria. The money will expand access to bednets, treatments, and other malaria control tools; speed research on vaccines and other new prevention methods; and boost global advocacy to fight the disease.
According to the Roll Back Malaria Partnership, global spending on malaria control falls far short of the $3.1 billion needed annually. Malaria research is also severely underfunded. A recent study by the Malaria R&D Alliance estimated that malaria research funding in 2004 totaled just $323 million, less than 0.3% of total health research spending worldwide.
The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation grants include $29 million to the Malaria Control and Evaluation Partnership in Africa to develop a network of five African countries committed to fighting malaria. The program will support collaboration among developing countries, donors, and other public and private partners to rapidly expand and evaluate the participating countries’ malaria control programs.
Also, $29.3 million will be awarded to the PATH Malaria Vaccine Initiative (MVI) for research on a promising malaria vaccine candidate, and $3.5 million to the Fraunhofer USA Center for Molecular Biotechnology to study potential antigens for use in malaria vaccines. MVI will investigate the potential for an attenuated malaria parasite to safely protect against malaria infection.
Additionally, the WHO will receive $2.2 million to develop guidelines for intermittent preventive treatment for malaria in infants (IPTi), a new strategy to prevent severe malaria, and $2.7 million to the Fundacio Clinic per a la Recerca Biomedica of the University of Barcelona for research on the acceptability and sustainability of IPTi.
The Foundation for Innovative New Diagnostics will gain $9.8 million to evaluate existing diagnostic tests for malaria and develop guidelines for the effective and efficient use of malaria tests in the field.
Finally, $7.1 million will go to the Roll Back Malaria Partnership to increase technical assistance to malaria programs in Southern Africa and strengthen global advocacy activities.