Bill and Melinda Gates Call for New Global Commitment to Chart a Course for Malaria Eradication



    
    New Resources and Scientific Progress Help Pave the Way Toward Malaria
    Eradication

    U.S. Presidential Candidates Urged to Sustain and Expand President's
    Malaria Initiative
    

    SEATTLE, Oct. 17 /CNW/ -- Bill and Melinda Gates today called on global
leaders to embrace "an audacious goal - to reach a day when no human being has
malaria, and no mosquito on earth is carrying it."  They delivered the call to
action at a forum of 300 leading malaria scientists and policymakers from
around the world.
    "Advances in science and medicine, promising research, and the rising
concern of people around the world represent an historic opportunity not just
to treat malaria or to control it - but to chart a long-term course to
eradicate it," said Melinda Gates.
    Every year, malaria kills more than one million people, most of them
children.  A malaria eradication campaign in the 1950s and 1960s collapsed
because of declining donor funding and growing resistance to drugs and
pesticides.  Malaria programs since then have focused on reducing, not ending,
the burden of malaria.
    "We have a real chance to build the partnerships, generate the political
will, and develop the scientific breakthroughs we need to end this disease,"
said Bill Gates.  "We will not stop working until malaria is eradicated."
    
    New Malaria Partnerships, Resources Achieving Large-Scale Success
    
    Bill Gates noted that "a rush of new actors" - such as the Global Fund to
Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria; the World Bank's Malaria Booster
Program; and the U.S. President's Malaria Initiative - are bringing new energy
and resources to the global effort to control malaria.  Together, these
initiatives have committed $3.6 billion to malaria control, and will reach
more than 70 countries.
    Gates also commended African countries that have undertaken aggressive,
comprehensive malaria control programs.  In particular, he praised Zambia's
malaria program as an "inspiring example of a nationally-coordinated effort."
    A new UNICEF report released at the forum documents the impressive
progress of recent malaria control efforts.  For example, the report shows
that:

    
    -- The annual supply of insecticide-treated bednets to prevent malaria has
       more than doubled in recent years, from 30 million nets in 2004 to 63
       million nets in 2006.
    -- Global procurement of artemisinin combination therapies, the most
       effective treatment for malaria, grew from 3 million doses in 2003 to
       100 million in 2006.
    
    To help build on this progress, Mr. and Mrs. Gates called on U.S.
presidential candidates to commit to supporting the President's Malaria
Initiative, a $1.2 billion effort launched by President Bush in 2005.  Mr.
Gates said, "If you win this office, you will inherit a record commitment to
fighting malaria.  The world needs you to sustain it and enhance it.  Malaria
will never be eradicated without the full support of the President of the
United States."
    
    Research Progress on New Vaccines, Drugs, and Insecticides
    
    Mr. Gates cited the "extraordinary breadth of research underway in
medicines, vaccines, and other control tools" as another reason for new
optimism in the malaria fight.  Examples of recent scientific progress by
Gates Foundation grantees include the following:

    -- Vaccines:  New study results from the PATH Malaria Vaccine Initiative,

    
        published today by The Lancet, show that the experimental malaria
        vaccine RTS,S is safe and may significantly reduce risk of malaria
        infection in infants.  In the study of 200 infants, the vaccine
        reduced new infections by 65% over three-and-a-half months.  A large-
        scale Phase III trial of the vaccine will begin next year in 10
        African trial sites.
    

    
     -- Medicines:  The Medicines for Malaria Venture, which is researching
        treatments to overcome resistance to existing drugs, has developed the
        largest malaria drug portfolio in history, and expects regulatory
        approval next year for an improved treatment for children.
    

    
     -- Mosquito control:  The Innovative Vector Control Consortium is
        developing new and improved insecticides to control the mosquitoes
        that transmit malaria.
    
    New vaccines, medicines, and insecticides will help "break the cycle of
transmission and eradicate the disease," said Mrs. Gates.  "Both private
industry and public research institutions must continue to invest in new tools
in order to make malaria eradication possible."
    Mr. and Mrs. Gates delivered the remarks at a meeting comprised of
malaria researchers, global health leaders, policy experts, and government
officials from around the world, taking place October 16-18 at the Sheraton
Hotel in Seattle.  Selected sessions of the meeting will be webcast at
www.kaisernetwork.org/healthcast/malariaforum2007.
    Guided by the belief that every life has equal value, the Bill & Melinda
Gates Foundation works to help all people lead healthy, productive lives.  In
developing countries, it focuses on improving people's health, and giving them
the chance to lift themselves out of hunger and extreme poverty.  In the
United States, it seeks to ensure that all people, especially those with the
fewest resources, have access to the opportunities they need to succeed in
school and life.  Based in Seattle, the foundation is led by CEO Patty
Stonesifer and Co-chair William H. Gates Sr., under the direction of Bill and
Melinda Gates and Warren Buffett.




For further information:

For further information: Jenny Sorensen of Bill and Melinda Gates 
Foundation +1-206-709-3400, media@gatesfoundation.org


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