Grants given for unconventional projects to fight infectious diseases

ARUSHA, Tanzania — The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation announced 76 grants of $100,000 each to pursue bold ideas for transforming health in developing countries.

The grants, announced Oct. 20, support researchers in 16 countries with ideas including ways to make vaccines more effective.

“Some of the biggest stumbling blocks in global health are now being overcome with promising new vaccines and treatments,” said Dr. Tachi Yamada, president of the Gates Foundation’s Global Health Program.

Newly funded projects include efforts to adapt a protein that parasites use to seal their egg cases as a “sticky coating” for intranasal vaccines.

Grantees were selected from almost 3,000 proposals. They are based at universities, research institutes, nonprofit organizations, and private companies around the world.

Cecil Czerkinsky of the International Vaccine Institute in Korea will explore whether vaccines administered under the tongue can produce strong immune responses in distant organs such as the lungs and reproductive tract.

Margaret Njoroge of Med Biotech Laboratories in Uganda will develop an intranasal vaccine for mothers, designed to induce antibodies against malaria in breast milk and confer immunity on their babies.

Kate Edwards, at the University of San Diego will study how a brief bout of exercise may enhance the efficiency of pneumococcal vaccine.