Bill Gates to finance Argentine vaccine development

Officials with the Argentine government announced recently that a local scientist’s vaccine development program will soon receive funding from Bill Gates’ foundation, according to a news report in the Latin American Herald Tribune.

Argentine scientist Juliana Cassataro of the Immunogenetics Laboratory at the Hospital of Clinics in Buenos Aires and at the Professor Margni Institute of Humoral Immunity is working to develop oral vaccines and equipment to diagnose infectious diseases.

The project, which Cassataro has led for two years, has also received funding from Argentina’s National Scientific and Technical Research Council. It was chosen by Gates’ foundation from among 2,700 candidates from 18 countries, according to the Latin American Herald Tribune report.

“Thanks to the new economic input it will receive, whose amount was not specified, the team’s scientists will apply themselves to developing vaccines taken orally, which are less invasive than those administered with syringes,” Cassataro told the Latin American Herald Tribune.

To date, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has provided $10 billion to promote innovative health projects and research around the world.

Last week, Gates announced his foundation would be making further contribution of $150 million to fight polio in Nigeria. Those funds come in addition to the $750 million he has committed over the past decade to fight the disease. The World Health Organization has a $2.6 billion budget to fight polio until 2012, Gates said.