I posted this on the Darwin blog as well, but I thought it was cool enough to share with you guys too!
The Bill and Melinda Gates' Foundation is funding three groups of British scientists who are working on some pretty amazing things. One group, out of University of Exeter, is developing a magnet that can test whether a person has malaria parasites in their bloodstream. Another group is building a library of all the various HIV mutations in humans, documenting the various ways the virus has evaded immune systems, with the hopes of being able to create a vaccine against a large number of the variants of the retrovirus. One other group, from the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine, is attempting to understand and mimic the human body's ability to carry the bacteria that causes pneumonia without contracting infection- this seems to limit and improve the immunity to other illnesses the bacteria causes. The hope of this research is to create an inhaled vaccine against pneumonia. Each group was given an initial grant of $100,000, with the chance to apply for more grants as their research progresses. There were about fifteen other projects that the Foundation is funding, and they all seem pretty progressive! Though the failure rate for a lot of this research is high, it's exciting to see someone funding these projects that could generate great improvements in human health.