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Gates Foundation commits $82.9 million to develop new tuberculosis vaccines

SEATTLE The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation announced today an $82.9 million grant to the Aeras Global TB Vaccine Foundation to support development of new vaccines to prevent tuberculosis, a disease that kills nearly two million people every year. The grant, the largest ever for TB vaccine development, will allow Aeras to fund human trials of promising TB vaccines and early research on the next generation of vaccines.

Dr. Richard Klausner, executive director of the Gates Foundation's Global Health program, announced the grant at the opening session of the American Association for the Advancement of Science annual meeting in Seattle. The grant will more than double the amount spent annually on TB vaccine research worldwide.

"It's unacceptable that TB continues to kill someone every 15 seconds when we have the ability to discover new tools to stop it," Klausner said. "Through accelerated research and development, a new vaccine could permanently change the trajectory of the epidemic and save millions of lives every year."

Two billion people one out of every three people on earth are infected with the TB pathogen. TB is the leading killer of people infected with HIV. Fueled by the HIV/AIDS epidemic, TB is resurgent in the developing world, and the World Health Organization projects that 36 million people could die of the disease over the next 20 years.

New TB Vaccine Urgently Needed

A new vaccine is the key to controlling TB, an airborne, contagious bacterial disease that begins with a cough but can rapidly spread to the lungs, bones and brain. While TB can be treated, the basic treatment regimen takes at least six months to complete and requires as many as four different drugs, which are often unavailable in developing countries. Modeling studies show that a modestly effective vaccine (50%-70% effective) used in combination with drug therapy could save tens of millions of lives, and a highly effective vaccine c
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Contact: Patti Pierson
media@gatesfoundation.org
206-709-3400
Gates Foundation
12-Feb-2004


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