Gates gives medical school £26.5m for malaria research

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In the next stage of his mission to give away large amounts of his vast fortune, the Microsoft founder Bill Gates has given £26.5m to a British medical research centre.

In the next stage of his mission to give away large amounts of his vast fortune, the Microsoft founder Bill Gates has given £26.5m to a British medical research centre.

The London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine will use the donation from the world's richest man to support international research into malaria.

The donation from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation comes just a week after the G8 commitment to reduce the burden of disease associated with malaria by 50 per cent by 2010, and Tony Blair's decision to double British funding for the development of new treatments for diseases including malaria.

The money will also be used to set up new centres of excellence for the treatment and prevention of the disease in Africa.

There are 500 million cases of malaria every year around the world and some 3,000 children die from it every day in Africa.

The London School has an international reputation for research into the disease and a spokesman said the donation would support new coordinated programmes in Liverpool, Copenhagen, The Gambia, Ghana and Tanzania.

The School is currently involved in 70 malaria-related projects in 24 countries worldwide. More than 50 staff and 27 PhD students work on malaria and their interests range from basic laboratory research through to field evaluation of new interventions and their subsequent implementation into health systems.

Eleanor Riley, Professor of Infectious Disease Immunology, said: "More research on the mechanisms by which resistance develops and spreads will allow us to extend the useful lifespan of the existing drugs but there is an urgent need also to develop and test new drugs, insecticides and vaccines."

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