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Bill, Melinda Gates Pledge $10 Billion for Vaccines (Update3)

Discussion in 'JF Doctor' started by MziziMkavu, Jan 30, 2010.

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    MziziMkavu JF-Expert Member

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    Jan 30, 2010
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    By Phil Serafino and Yuriy Humber



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    Jan. 29 (Bloomberg) -- Bill and Melinda Gates said their foundation will commit $10 billion over the next decade to help develop vaccines for the world’s poorest countries, a project that may save the lives of 8.7 million children.
    The initiative aims to vaccinate 90 percent of children in developing nations, including new immunizations for pneumonia and severe diarrhea, the foundation said in a statement today. The funding is in addition to $4.5 billion that the charity already pledged to vaccine research and delivery. Governments and the private sector need to contribute more money as well, Gates said.
    “Here is where you can take a donation and really map it, see it saving lives,” Bill Gates, the co-founder and former chief executive officer of Microsoft Corp., said at a news conference in Davos, Switzerland, the site of the World Economic Forum this week.
    Gates’s Seattle-based charity, the world’s biggest, has made health care for the poor the focus of its work in an effort to tackle infectious diseases like AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis. The foundation has helped fund GlaxoSmithKline Plc’s research into a malaria vaccine and has contributed to Sanofi-Aventis SA’s work on a shot for dengue fever.
    The foundation used a model developed at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health to project the impact of vaccines on childhood deaths over the next decade.
    Vaccinations
    By vaccinating 90 percent of the population in developing countries, the deaths of about 7.6 million children under the age of 5 could be prevented in the next decade, according to the Gates foundation. An additional 1.1 million lives would be saved by the introduction of a malaria vaccine beginning in 2014, the foundation said.
    The United Nations will pay an average of about $2.94 a shot this year for a vaccine against five deadly childhood diseases, officials said in November. Four companies make the five-in-one shots -- Crucell NV, Glaxo, Panacea Biotec Ltd and Sanofi’s Shantha Biotechnics. The shots are given to children in their first year of life to protect against Haemophilus influenzae type B, hepatitis B, tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis.
    Glaxo wants to file for regulatory approval by early 2012 for its malaria vaccine, Chief Executive Officer Andrew Witty said last week. The foundation has spent $200 million developing the shot, while the company has invested $300 million, Alexandra Harrison, a Glaxo spokeswoman, said in an interview.
    ‘Transformative’
    The Gates announcement “is transformative for research into diseases of the developing world,” Jean Stephenne, the head of Glaxo’s biologicals unit, said in an e-mailed statement today. “After clean water, vaccines are the most effective public- health intervention that can be offered in these countries.”
    The foundation is part of the GAVI Alliance, a health partnership from the private and public sectors that was formed 10 years ago at the World Economic Forum to reduce the price of vaccines for people in poor nations.
    “Investments in global immunization have yielded an extraordinary return,” Julian Lob-Levyt, the alliance’s chief executive officer, said in the statement. The alliance has saved 5 million lives by increasing access to vaccines, he said. “The potential to make bigger strides in the coming decade is even more exciting.”
    The Bloomberg School of Public Health, located in Baltimore, is named for New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, founder and majority owner of Bloomberg News parent Bloomberg LP.
    Other charities have teamed up with vaccine manufacturers to develop immunizations for diseases that mostly strike the poor. Merck & Co. and The Wellcome Trust in September formed a not-for- profit venture in India that aims to create new immunizations and make existing vaccines more effective in the developing world.

    http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601124&sid=axdteNmgQGw4
     
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