Initiative to boost drug discovery efforts for neglected tropical diseases and tuberculosis in Africa
Grand Challenges (GC) Africa, through a partnership with MMV, University of Cape Town’s H3D and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, is providing grants totalling $1M to eight scientists from Cameroon, Ghana, Kenya, Mali, Nigeria, South Africa and Zimbabwe. The innovative research projects are aimed at advancing the discovery of new drugs to prevent, treat, and cure diseases endemic to Africa.
The eight innovators, who are the inaugural awardees of the GC Africa drug discovery scheme, were selected from 53 applicants from 13 African countries. GC Africa is implemented through The AAS and the African Union Development Agency (AUDA-NEPAD) funding, agenda-setting and programme management platform, and the Alliance for Accelerating Excellence in Science in Africa (AESA).
The innovators, half of whom are women, will each receive up to $100,000 for a period of 2 years to expand their institutions' drug discovery research capacity. The funding will also enable the researchers to identify new chemical entities with potential for drug development in malaria, tuberculosis, leishmaniasis, Human African trypanosomiasis (HAT, commonly known as sleeping sickness) and enteroaggregative Escherichia coli, a bacterium associated with chronic and acute diarrhoea and childhood stunting.
“Africa bears the overwhelming burden of disease from malaria as well as many other tropical diseases,” said Dr Tim Wells, MMV’s Chief Scientific Officer. “It’s critical then that African research talent be part of the solution. MMV is proud to be in a position to help nurture some of that talent through our partnerships, for example with H3D, and now to support these eight innovators through Grand Challenges Africa. We look forward to following their progress.”
GC Africa is an innovation and entrepreneurial programme of The African Academy of Sciences (The AAS).
Read The African Academy of Sciences full press release.