The billionaire philanthropist, worth an estimated $92 billion, announced additional investments in combatting malaria via the work of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation at the Malaria Summit London 2018 on Wednesday.
The Gates Foundation will invest $1 billion through 2023 to fund research and development efforts to end malaria. It also pledged an additional 50 million pounds (approximately $70.9 million) to match the British government’s 100 million pound ($142 million) commitment to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria announced by Prime Minister May on Tuesday.
The Gates Foundation also announced that it will support ZERO by 40, a new joint initiative of five crop protection companies to accelerate the development of innovative vector control tools to combat the spread of malaria.
“History has shown that with malaria there is no standing still—we move forward or risk resurgence,” Gates said in a statement. “It’s a disease that is preventable, treatable, and ultimately beatable, but progress against malaria is not inevitable. We hope today marks a turning point against the disease.”
The Gates Foundation has committed $1.6 billion to the Global Fund and nearly $2 billion in grants to combat malaria to date. Most recently, the foundation awarded a $1.4 million grant to the Wistar Institute in Philadelphia to create a synthetic DNA-based vaccine for malaria.
Malaria is present in nearly 100 countries across the world. In 2015, more than 200 million people were infected and an estimated 429,000 died. While overall rates of infection have dropped 60% since 2000, the number of malaria cases rose in 2016 for the first time in a decade.
At the Malaria Summit, Gates is joined by a number of governments, international organizations, and members of civil society and the private sector in pledging investments worth a collective $3.8 billion. The money will go, in part, toward efforts to drive innovation, research, and data to end the disease.