9 February 2012 - Seattle, USA - The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has announced $7.7 million in funding for 10 new grants to identify biomarkers for diagnosing tuberculosis (TB).
The foundation's new grant programme, Biomarkers for the Diagnosis of Tuberculosis supports innovative research into TB biomarkers - traceable substances which indicate that a person has active TB disease.
By identifying new biomarkers, the programme aims to facilitate the development of a low-cost, simple-to-use tool that can quickly and accurately diagnose TB in developing countries.
The biomarkers programme is part of the Gates Foundation’s Grand Challenges in Global Health initiative, which seeks to overcome persistent bottlenecks in creating new tools that can radically improve health in the developing world.
The Gates Foundation is partnering on this programme with the Foundation for Innovative New Diagnostics, which will help monitor the grant portfolio and supply clinical TB samples from developing countries, and the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, which is co-funding one of the grants.
"There is an urgent need to break through barriers in biomarker research in order to develop a highly-sensitive point-of-care diagnostic to improve identification of active TB cases," said Chris Wilson, Director of Global Health Discovery at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. "We hope these innovative ideas lead to effective and affordable TB diagnostics that can make an impact on one of the world’s deadliest infectious diseases."