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The BactiVac Network has been awarded $100,000 by The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to support the delivery of its 3rd Annual Network Meeting in Kilifi, Kenya on 24-27 March 2020. 

The funding will enable BactiVac to deliver its four-day programme to a larger audience. The funds will specifically subsidise the costs of accommodating additional members at the 3rd Annual Network Meeting, which is being held in a low and middle-income country (LMIC) setting.

BactiVac’s Annual Network Meetings promote collaboration and understanding of development challenges, with talks delivered by a host of internationally renowned speakers from a range of disciplines ranging from the basic science underpinning vaccine development to commercial production and delivery.

Professor Adam Cunningham, Co-Director of the BactiVac Network, said: “We are committed to involving LMICs and there are many benefits to hosting our 3rd Annual Network Meeting in Kilifi, Kenya. It will highlight the strengths of LMIC-focused research to our membership; attendees will witness first-hand the facilities and environment from where research is translated into real vaccines to benefit local communities. We are thrilled to secure this funding from the foundation; it will ultimately enable us to bring more of our membership together in what will be a transformative event in the role that LMICs have in bacterial vaccine development.”

Infections account for >20% of all deaths worldwide, and are particularly problematic in LMICs, with bacterial infections killing approximately 5 million people annually. Vaccines are a cost-effective approach to prevent infectious disease and do save millions of lives each year. However, there are many bacterial infections without any licensed vaccine.

BactiVac, which is based at the University of Birmingham, was established to address these challenges. It is a Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF), Medical Research Council (MRC) global bacterial vaccinology network, that brings together over 890 members based across 70 countries from the academic, industry and policy sectors to work collaboratively to accelerate the development of vaccines against bacterial infections relevant to LMICs.

Dr Martin Broadstock, Programme Manager for Immunology and Vaccines at the MRC, said: “Our goal through the GCRF networks is to accelerate vaccine research and development. This additional funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation will help BactiVac enormously by encouraging enhanced collaborations between its members from across the globe.”