Gates Foundation Invest $43 Million Dollars in Malaria Drug Research
Seattle, Washington - The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation of Seattle has given a $43 million dollars grant to aid in the development of a genetically engineered form of a Chinese herbal drug that is thought to be effective in curing malaria. The foundation has given the money to Jay Keasling, a UC Berkeley chemical engineering, Amyris Biotechnologies, a company set up by former students of Keasling, and the Institute for OneWorld Health, a San Francisco firm that will handle the clinical trials and the Food and Drug Administration approval process.
This consortium will work on creating a less expensive form of the herb artemisinin, which occurs naturally as a derivative of the dried leaves of the wormwood plant. The Chinese have been using Artemisinin since A.D. 150 to treat fevers but it was in Vietnam that it was first found to be effective in reducing deaths from malaria.