Bill Gates, Canada announce millions
for global AIDS research
[PoliticsWatch updated 11:20 a.m., February 20, 2007]
|Microsoft Chairman Bill gates speaks with
reporters at the base of the Peace Tower on Parliament Hill on
Tuesday, February 20, 2007. (PoliticsWatch photo).
OTTAWA — Billionaire
philanthropist Bill Gates is teaming up with the Canadian government
to spend millions to develop an AIDS vaccine.
The chairman of Microsoft joined Prime Minister Stephen
Harper on Parliament Hill to announce a total of $139 million in
new funding for the Canadian HIV Vaccine Initiative.
The federal government will contribute $111 million while the Bill
& Melinda Gates Foundation will commit an additional $28
The money will be spent to assist Canadian researchers and
institutions to work with international partners on a range of HIV
vaccine research projects.
This includes a proposed manufacturing facility in Canada that will increase the global capacity to produce HIV vaccine candidates for use in clinical trials.
Harper came under fire from AIDS activists over the summer when he
opted not to attend a global AIDS conference in Toronto.
Reporters asked Gates if he felt like he was being used by the prime
minister to gain popularity as a rumoured spring election
Gates disagreed, calling the announcement "a great thing for the AIDS cause."
"I'm glad to hear that putting research money into AIDS makes people politically more
popular," he quipped.
The prime minister called the global effort to discover an AIDS
vaccine "the greatest scientific challenge of our
"The global HIV/AIDS pandemic is one of the most heart-wrenching health crises the world has ever seen," Harper said.
"HIV/AIDS is a killer that must be stopped."
Gates said HIV/AIDS drug treatment alone is not enough to combat the
pandemic and the "long-term" solution is the creation of a
vaccine for HIV.
He said he remains optimistic that a vaccine can be developed after
10 more years of research.
Gates said his foundation has decided to work in collaboration with
governments around the world because "No single company or government alone can take on this challenge."
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