Billionaire Bill Gates is donating $12 million to fund research for a universal flu vaccine. Gates made the announcement at the yearly meeting for the Massachusetts Society of Medicine in Boston on Friday.
The philanthropic Gates Foundation is already working on developing a universal flu vaccine in collaboration with other groups, including nonprofit organization PATH, pharmaceutical company GlaxoSmithKline, and the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. The research efforts have not yet yielded a breakthrough, but clinical trials are expected to begin soon.
Gates said, “Scientific advances and growing interest on the federal level, in the private sector, and among philanthropic funders makes development of a universal flu vaccine more feasible now than 10 or 20 years ago.” He added,
Today we are launching a $12 million Grand Challenge in partnership with the Page family to accelerate the development of a universal flu vaccine.
The Microsoft founder – and one of the world’s richest men – spends much of his time and money to improve global health. One of the Gates Foundation’s primary agendas is to fight mosquito-borne diseases. Since 2009, the charity has made significant strides towards fighting malaria, providing millions of dollars in funding to help find a vaccine for this particular mosquito disease that kills thousands of children around the world every day.
In a blog post in 2016,Gates said that the foundation’s efforts have contributed to a decrease in malaria-caused deaths in sub-Saharan Africa. Last year, Gates began a new mission in focusing on a cure for Alzheimer’s disease, a degenerative condition affecting millions, that currently has no cure.
Gates has given $50 million to the Dementia Discovery Fund to back research for the neurological condition.