Date Published: August 27, 2008
Publisher: Public Library of Science
Author(s): Peter J. Hotez
Partial Text: In March of 2008, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation made the impressive announcement that it will accept proposals for a new Grand Challenges Explorations program . Grand Challenges Explorations will provide $100 million for global health scientists to identify new ways to protect against infectious diseases (including neglected tropical diseases [NTDs]), to create new drugs or delivery systems, to prevent or cure HIV/AIDS, and to explore the basis of latency in tuberculosis . In so doing, the Gates Foundation will build on its long-standing multibillion dollar commitments to develop and test new drugs, diagnostics, and vaccines for NTDs, as well as the better known “big three” diseases, HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria, and to fund critically needed operational research in support of large-scale control programs for these conditions . The Gates Foundation is not alone—the United Kingdom’s Wellcome Trust has a £15 billion investment portfolio of which a significant amount is devoted to global infectious diseases , while the United States National Institutes of Health (NIH) also devotes a significant amount of funding towards global health . Therefore, in the coming decade we can expect that these initiatives will contribute significantly towards reducing the so-called 10/90 gap, a term coined by the Global Forum for Health Research to refer to the finding that only 10% or less of the global expenditure on medical research and development is directed towards neglected health problems that disproportionately affect the poorest people in developing regions of sub-Saharan Africa, Asia, and tropical regions of the Americas.