HU Disease Center Receives $5 Million from Gates Foundation 12/16/2009 Israel, Jewish Organiztions
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by Hillel Fendel
Israel National News
“( The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, based in Seattle, Washington, has awarded The Kuvin Center for the Study of Infectious and Tropical Diseases of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem a $5 million grant to study visceral leishmaniasis, commonly known as black fever.
The grant, apparently the largest scientific research award ever given to an Israeli body, is for the purpose of researching ways to stop the transmission of the disease, also known as kala-azar. If not treated within 30 days, the disease is fatal. It has hit particularly hard in Ethiopia, where the combination of black fever and the high incidence of HIV/AIDS is especially deadly.
Five research groups at the Kuvin Center are currently working on aspects of leishmaniasis, including sand fly biology, ecology and control, diagnosis of infections in reservoir hosts and humans, and sophisticated molecular biological, immunological and biochemical projects.Heading the research, which will be carried out in Ethiopia and Jerusalem, is Prof. Alon Warburg, a biologist of Hebrew University’s Faculty of Medicine. He will concentrate on the ways in which the disease is transmitted, how sand flies grow, how they can be destroyed or controlled, and more.
Black fever is the second-most deadly parasitic disease in the world, and is carried by the common sand fly. Some 90% of the 500,000 annual cases are reported in the Indian subcontinent, East Africa and Brazil.
The work will be carried out together with researchers from Addis Ababa University, researchers from other departments of Hebrew University, the Volcani Center for Agricultural Research, the Gertner Institute for Epidemiology and Health Policy Research, and the Charles University in Prague.”