Research into a vaccine for Aids got a boost following a 100 million dollar (70.6 million euro) initiative launched by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
The money, to be disbursed in grants over five years, beginning from 2008, will promote research into diseases afflicting poor countries, like Aids and malaria, said a statement on the Foundation's website on Wednesday after a meeting of global health researchers in Cape Town, South Africa.
Dubbed Grand Challenges Explorations, the initiative would seek to "encourage scientists worldwide to explore creative, unorthodox ideas", it said.
Pursuing new ideas
"The new initiative ... will support hundreds of early-stage research projects, many pursuing ideas that have never before been tested, and involving scientists from a wide range of disciplines." The overarching focus was the development of vaccines, diagnostic tools and drugs for diseases that claim millions of lives every year.
"To effectively tackle diseases like Aids and malaria, we need to encourage the best and brightest minds to take risks on novel ideas," the Foundation's global health programme head, Tachi Yamada, said in the statement.
"Not all will bear fruit, but those that do could revolutionise the field of global health." The initiative was announced on Tuesday at the Cape Town meeting.
The Foundation was created by multi-billionaire Microsoft founder Bill Gates and his wife Melinda to improve healthcare and reduce extreme poverty. – (Sapa-AFP)