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Chinese Scientists Win Gates Grants

Two Chinese scientists have received US$100,000 each from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation for their novel ideas on fighting tuberculosis (TB) and HIV/AIDS.

The grants for Gao Qian from Fudan University and Chen Zhiwei from University of Hong Kong are among 106 offered to explore bold and largely unproven ways to improve global health, the foundation's China office said on Monday.

The grants mark the first round of funding from Grand Challenges Explorations, a five-year US$100 million dollars initiative to help lower the barriers for testing innovative ideas in global health.

Gao Qian, at Fudan's medical college, said two of his students came up with the ideas focusing on researching the role of Micro RNA - a short single-stranded RNA molecule that is now recognized as playing an important role in gene regulation - in the transition from latent to activated tuberculosis.

Chen Zhiwei, director of the AIDS Institute at the University of Hong Kong Li Ka Shing Faculty of Medicine, is aiming for an AIDS vaccine capable of inducing neutralizing antibodies against HIV-1 sexual transmission, the major risk factor in the spread of AIDS.

(China Daily October 28, 2008)

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