Bill and Melinda Gates pour thousands into unconventional health research

May 5th, 2009 - 2:03 pm ICT by ANI  

London, May 5 (ANI): Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has thrown a lifeline to number of projects like creating an anti-viral tomato, a flu-resistant chicken and a magnet that can detect malaria, awarding 81 grants of one lakh dollar each in a bid to support innovative, unconventional global health research.

The five-year health research grants are designed to encourage scientists to pursue bold ideas that could lead to breakthroughs, focusing on ways to prevent and treat infectious diseases, such as HIV, malaria, tuberculosis, pneumonia and diarrhoeal diseases.

Among the grant recipients is Eric Lam at Rutgers University in New Jersey, who is exploring tomatoes as an antiviral drug delivery system, The Telegraph reported.

Three British scientific teams, pursuing novel approaches to preventing and treating infectious diseases such as tuberculosis, malaria and pneumonia, have been chosen.

One team, led by researchers at the University of Exeter in Devon, England, will seek to build an inexpensive instrument to diagnose malaria by using magnets to detect the waste products of the malaria parasite in human blood.

Scientists from Royal Holloway University, London, are attempting to compile a library of all possible mutations of HIV with the ultimate goal of a vaccine that can protect against many variant forms of the virus.

Each grant recipient will also get the chance of follow-on grants of one million dollar if their projects show success.

Applicants were selected from more than 3,000 proposals, with all levels of scientists represented - from veteran researchers to postgraduates - and a range of disciplines, such as neurobiology, immunology and polymer science. (ANI)

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