$15.1M for drugs – Fighting two diseases

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has donated $15.1 million to develop new drugs to treat two parasitic diseases afflicting millions of people in developing nations, the Associated Press reported Dec. 18.

The five-year grant will bring experts together to develop medicines to fight African trypanosomiasis, or sleeping sickness and leishmaniasis.

The research consortium will include experts from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, Ohio State University and will be led by a scientist from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

African sleeping sickness, which is spread by humans and the tsetse fly, is fatal unless treated. An estimated 450,000 people in central Africa are currently infected with the disease. Leishmaniasis, a fatal disease spread by the bites of sand flies, afflicts an estimated 12 million people in 88 countries worldwide.   

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