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Washington U. wins $13 million Gates Foundation health grant

Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis has received a five-year, $13 million grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to help eliminate elephantiasis and river blindness.

The parasitic diseases belong to a group of infections known as neglected tropical diseases, which collectively have a health impact comparable to HIV and malaria.

“This project will work to optimize treatments that already are being used to help hundreds of millions of people,” says principal investigator Dr. Gary Weil, professor of medicine and of molecular microbiology at the School of Medicine, in a statement. “We have simple and cost-effective treatments for many neglected tropical diseases, and for a cost of about 50 cents per person we can alleviate a tremendous amount of human suffering and disability and potentially eliminate some of these diseases permanently.”