Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
Topics / Research & Development

Innovation: Understanding Global Differences in Human Milk Nutrients

Lindsay Allen, the Director of the USDA Human Nutrition Research Center in Davis, California, might know more about vitamin B-12 deficiency than anyone in the world. By now there’s not much in the study of B-12 that surprises her. But Dr. Allen says that when she was researching infant nutrition in Guatemala – and figured out that half of the babies in her study got virtually no vitamin B-12 from their mothers’ milk – the discovery “freaked me out.” She immediately turned her attention studying breast milk. And the Gates Foundation is supporting her as she works to make sure that every child gets the best nutrition possible, right from birth.

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Innovation: How a 50-Year-Old Drop of Blood Helps Solve an Urgent Global Health Challenge

In high-income countries, babies born preterm (before 37 weeks in the womb) are at increased risk for complications, but many of these complications can be treated effectively with readily available tools, including ventilators to help preterm newborns breathe, IV lines to supply nutrition and antibiotics to treat sepsis.

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Innovation: Expanding the Fight Against Malaria

When your goal is just to reduce illness and death caused by malaria, you’re likely to focus most of your energy on Plasmodium falciparum – the deadliest and most common parasite behind the disease. But when you’re trying to end malaria for good – eradicate it from the face of our planet – you have to tackle malaria in all its forms, including P. vivax. This presents additional challenges that require innovation.

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Antimicrobial Resistance: Saving Our Medicines is Everyone’s Duty

Why would allowing wider use of a drug affect its efficiency? The answer is antimicrobial resistance (AMR), a phenomenon whereby infection-causing microbes learn to resist the drugs that are normally used to kill them. TB is one of the diseases most affected by AMR, but the list of infections and procedures made more dangerous is ever growing.

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Promoting Science on Behalf of the Most Vulnerable

Today, the Gates Foundation is joining an exciting partnership with HHMI, Wellcome Trust, and the Portuguese Gulbenkian Foundation that will help dozens of scientific researchers around the world pursue whichever subjects capture their imagination. This amounts to an experiment for us. What happens when we support researchers whose general area of research aligns with our interests as a way to promote science on behalf of the poorest?

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