26 Mar UW-Madison, Lentigen Corp. agree to donate flu research
Madison, Wis. – World health experts are concerned about the possibility of a global avian flu pandemic that could be spread in part by ignorance.
To spread the news about flu-fighting research, not to mention make diagnostic tools more accessible worldwide, the University of Wisconsin-Madison has announced that it will receive a $1.3 million grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to support research into molecular features that lead to influenza pandemics.
The global health disaster that occurred as a result of the pandemic of 1918 killed between 20 million and 40 million people.
To help prevent another pandemic, UW-Madison will collaborate with Maryland-based Lentigen Corp. on the Gates-funded project. As part of the grant, the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation and Lentigen have agreed to disseminate the knowledge generated in this project to the international research community.
According to the UW, the project will use high-throughput screening systems to sift through influenza viral proteins and identify mutations that would allow the avian flu to infect humans.
The project will be led by influenza researcher Yoshihiro Kawaoka, who has a joint appointment at the UW-Madison School of Veterinary Medicine and the University of Tokyo. Kawaoka has created a method for screening avian influenza sequences to determine when the virus jumps from birds to humans.
WARF and Lentigen intend to make diagnostic tools and vaccines for avian flu accessible to people in the developing countries. WARF is the licensing arm for intellectual property developed at UW-Madison. Lentigen is a privately owned biotechnology company that develops tools for the study and manufacture of vaccines.
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