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Gates Foundation, China to Partner on Health, Agriculture

Nurse giving vaccine to an infant in Nicaragua (Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation)

Nurse giving vaccine to an infant in Nicaragua (Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation)

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and China’s Ministry of Science and Technology announced a partnership to support research and development and manufacturing of new products to improve global health and agriculture. Bill Gates and vice-minister Zhang Laiwu signed an agreement that they say affirms their focus on meeting the needs of developing countries and the U.N.’s Millennium Development Goals.

Under the agreement, the foundation and ministry will identify and jointly fund projects that promote the development of new global health products, conduct R&D to improve inputs for agriculture, support low-cost manufacturing of health and agricultural products, and develop information technology for rural areas and agricultural and health applications.

The organizations will establish a joint committee to identify projects for potential grant funding. The committee is expected to seek projects that promote new data and information to the scientific and development communities, and ensure that products benefit the neediest people in developing and resource-constrained countries.

The first projects to be considered under the agreement are likely to cover issues such as human and animal vaccines, diagnostics for TB and other diseases, hardier varieties of rice and other crops, and more productive livestock. Work funded by the joint committee will also likely build on developments pioneered in China, such as artemisinin, a drug for malaria treatment, and innovations in rice-growing technology.

“China’s support to bring its power and capacity to bear on global health and agriculture research and production,” says Gates, “comes at a critical time in our world economic situation.” Gates is expected to deliver a report at next week’s G20 Summit in Cannes, France, outlining innovations and partnerships in health and agriculture that can help increase global stability and put the poorest countries and people on a path to economic growth.

Read more: Grant Awarded for New Technology to Develop Polio Vaccine

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