• About
  • Partnerships
  • Challenges
  • Awards
  • Grant Opportunities
  • News

Awards

Grand Challenges is a family of initiatives fostering innovation to solve key global health and development problems. Each initiative is an experiment in the use of challenges to focus innovation on making an impact. Individual challenges address some of the same problems, but from differing perspectives.

388Awards

Showing page 1 out of 39 with 10 results per page.

Initiatives: Grand Challenges
Show Descriptions
Results per page

Establishment of an Immunodiagnostics Pipeline for Infectious Diseases in Africa

Jacqueline Weyer, National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD) - South Africa (Johannesburg, South Africa)
Nov 29, 2023

Jacqueline Weyer of the National Institute for Communicable Diseases in South Africa and Jinal Bhiman of Wits Health Consortium (Pty) Ltd also in South Africa will leverage a rapid monoclonal antibody (mAb) isolation and screening pipeline to develop diagnostics that differentiate between pathogens to support epidemic responses. Africa’s burden of many zoonoses and vector-borne diseases (VBD), such as Lassa fever and yellow fever, remains largely unknown, mainly due to diagnostic costs and limited access to reagents. They will leverage an existing screening pipeline, with infrastructure established by the Global Immunology and Immune Sequencing for Epidemic Response - South Africa (GIISER-SA) project, using a mouse model as a more readily available source of pathogen-specific B cells to identify mAbs that detect three ebolavirus species. These mAbs will be tested for sensitivity and specificity using patient samples and can be used to develop immunoassays, including rapid lateral flow assays, which are important for rapid, field-based diagnosis.

Conflict, Climate and Covid-19: Modeling for Pregnant-Lactating Women's and Adolescents' Undernutrition

Anne CC Lee, Brigham and Women's Hospital (Boston, Massachusetts, United States)
Nov 20, 2023

Anne Lee of Brigham and Women's Hospital in the U.S. and Yasir Shafiq of Aga Khan University in Pakistan will develop geospatial models to predict risks of undernutrition among adolescent girls and pregnant and lactating women in settings affected by conflict, climate and COVID-19 to help target interventions. Globally, around 30–40 million pregnant women and 50 million adolescent girls are underweight. Risks of undernutrition have recently been amplified by numerous armed conflicts, climatic shocks such as flooding and the COVID-19 pandemic. However, real-time data shortages prevent interventions, such as balanced energy-protein supplements, from reaching the highest-risk groups. Using Bayesian Hierarchical Spatial modeling, they will develop geospatial models for countries vulnerable to conflict and climate change, such as Ethiopia and Yemen. By incorporating socio-demographic and economic indicators, and climate-related and conflict-related shocks from national databases, they can estimate risks based on exposure and predict outcomes, such as undernutrition and anemia.

Acceptability of a Novel Multipurpose Technology Prevention (MTP) Intravaginal Ring (IVR) to Prevent Unplanned Pregnancy and HIV

Margaret Kasaro, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (Chapel Hill, North Carolina, United States)
Nov 17, 2023

Margaret Kasaro and Soumya Benhabbour of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in the U.S. will evaluate 3D-printed intravaginal ring (IVR) prototypes in Zambia to identify the design most acceptable to women for long-term use against unplanned pregnancy and HIV infection. In Zambia, HIV prevalence remains particularly high among women, and 41% of pregnancies are unplanned. IVRs are an effective, well-tolerated, and women-controlled contraceptive and HIV-preventative; however, their performance has suffered in large-scale clinical trials because of poor adherence. They have exploited a state-of-the-art 3D-printing process to rapidly engineer IVRs in a cost-effective, single-step process enabling the controlled release of multiple drugs for HIV prevention and contraception. They will recruit around 16 women, aged 18–45 from Kampala Health Centre, and use focus groups to evaluate their views on the proposed 90-day timeframe of use for four different IVR prototypes to guide the final design.

Biomarker Discovery of Human Papilloma Virus and Cervical Cancer in Senegal

Aida Sadikh Badiane, Universite Cheikh Anta Diop de Dakar (Dakar, Senegal)
Nov 14, 2023

Aida Sadikh Badiane of the Universite Cheikh Anta Diop de Dakar in Senegal will use a metabolomics platform to identify cervicovaginal metabolites and inflammatory mediators associated with high-risk human papillomavirus (HPV) infection, which cause the majority of cervical cancer cases, in Senegalese women. Cervical cancer is the leading cause of cancer deaths in women in sub-Saharan Africa. Metabolic and immune markers could enable more effective diagnoses for these diseases than the current methods used in low-resource settings. They will perform a prospective, cross-sectional study on a cohort of 385 women using an untargeted metabolomics platform to identify molecules within the cervicovaginal microenvironment that are predictive of infection and cancer risk. They will also use Luminex assays to evaluate inflammatory molecules and other markers associated with infection, and sequence the L1-HPV gene in the samples to better track the genotypes in Senegal.

Impact of Helminths on Immunogenicity of the RTS,S Malaria Vaccine in Children

Simon Kariuki, Kenya Medical Research Institute (Nairobi, Kenya)
Nov 6, 2023

Simon Kariuki of the Kenya Medical Research Institute in Kenya will use an antibody platform to characterize children's immune responses to the new malaria vaccine to determine the impact of any accompanying infections. The WHO recently approved a new malaria vaccine that will mainly be deployed in sub-Saharan Africa. During its development, HIV-infected children were found to mount weaker immune responses. Helminth infections, which are prevalent in sub-Saharan Africa, are also suspected to negatively impact vaccine efficacy. To test this, they will use an antibody-dynamics platform to assess the impact of helminths and other current or prior parasitic, bacterial, and viral infections on humoral and cellular immune responses following the 4th dose of the new malaria vaccine in two- to three-year-old children at six hospitals in western Kenya. This will help design more effective deployment strategies such as deworming before vaccination.

Investigating Variation in Response to Vaccines Using Single-Cell RNA-Sequencing

Senjuti Saha, Child Health Research Foundation (Dhaka, Bangladesh)
Oct 31, 2023

Senjuti Saha of the Child Health Research Foundation in Bangladesh will use a single-cell analytics platform to track the immune responses of babies before and after receiving a pneumococcal conjugate vaccine to determine the impact of various factors, including nutritional status and seasonality, on vaccine efficacy. Vaccines have successfully reduced childhood morbidity and mortality; however, their efficacy can be influenced by host factors and extrinsic factors through unknown cellular mechanisms. They will recruit 50 newborns in a rural district north of Dhaka and collect blood and nasopharyngeal swabs before, during and after a routine vaccination series. They will extract peripheral blood mononuclear cells and use them to perform single-cell RNA sequencing to identify cell subtypes and link differential vaccine responses to factors including gestational age, nutritional status and sex.

Conflict, Climate and Covid-19: Modeling for Pregnant-Lactating Women's and Adolescents' Undernutrition

Yasir Shafiq, Aga Khan University (Karachi, Pakistan)
Oct 30, 2023

Yasir Shafiq of Aga Khan University in Pakistan and Anne Lee of Brigham and Women's Hospital in the U.S. will develop geospatial models to predict risks of undernutrition among adolescent girls and pregnant and lactating women in settings affected by conflict, climate and COVID-19 to help target interventions. Globally, around 30–40 million pregnant women and 50 million adolescent girls are underweight. Risks of undernutrition have recently been amplified by numerous armed conflicts, climatic shocks such as flooding and the COVID-19 pandemic. However, real-time data shortages prevent interventions, such as balanced energy-protein supplements, from reaching the highest-risk groups. Using Bayesian Hierarchical Spatial modeling, they will develop geospatial models for countries vulnerable to conflict and climate change, such as Ethiopia and Yemen. By incorporating socio-demographic and economic indicators, and climate-related and conflict-related shocks from national databases, they can estimate risks based on exposure and predict outcomes, such as undernutrition and anemia.

Enhancing Immunogenicity Through Structure Guided Design and Glycoengineering

Raghavan Varadarajan, Indian Institute of Science (Bangalore, Karnataka, India)
Oct 30, 2023

Raghavan Varadarajan in collaboration with Sudha Kumari, both of the Indian Institute of Science in India and Nico Callewaert of the VIB-UGent Center for Medical Biotechnology in Belgium will modify the microorganism, Pichia pastoris, used to produce lower-cost vaccines in low-resource settings, to generate more effective vaccines. Many vaccines are composed of pathogen-derived proteins that require production inside other cells. Although P. pastoris can produce these antigens at a lower cost than mammalian or insect cells, the viral proteins it produced for the SARS-CoV-2 vaccine were hyperglycosylated and poorly immunogenic, unlike those produced in mammalian cells. They will express different antigen forms in mammalian cells, and in different Pichia hosts, to determine whether altering glycosylation and protein size affects immunogenicity. They will also glycoengineer Pichia hosts to determine whether they can produce more effective vaccines. Ultimately, this approach could improve vaccine production for COVID-19 and other viruses.

Establishment of an Immunodiagnostics Pipeline for Infectious Diseases in Africa

Jinal Bhiman, Wits Health Consortium (Pty) Ltd (Johannesburg, South Africa)
Oct 24, 2023

Jinal Bhiman of Wits Health Consortium (Pty) Ltd in South Africa and Jacqueline Weyer of the National Institute for Communicable Diseases also in South Africa will leverage a rapid monoclonal antibody (mAb) isolation and screening pipeline to develop diagnostics that differentiate between pathogens to support epidemic responses. Africa's burden of many zoonoses and vector-borne diseases (VBD), such as Lassa fever and yellow fever, remains largely unknown, mainly due to diagnostic costs and limited access to reagents. They will leverage an existing screening pipeline, with infrastructure established by the Global Immunology and Immune Sequencing for Epidemic Response - South Africa (GIISER-SA) project, using a mouse model as a more readily available source of pathogen-specific B cells to identify mAbs that detect three ebolavirus species. These mAbs will be tested for sensitivity and specificity using patient samples and can be used to develop immunoassays, including rapid lateral flow assays, which are important for rapid, field-based diagnosis.

Pro/Synbiotics and Immune Response to Immunisation in Young Infants in Western Kenya

Simon Kariuki, Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine, Kenya (Nairobi, Kenya)
Oct 24, 2023

Simon Kariuki of the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine, Kenya in Kenya and Holden Maecker of Stanford University in the U.S. will determine whether probiotics and synbiotics can boost infant immune responses to vaccines. Diarrhea is the second leading cause of death in young children, with rotavirus a leading culprit. Oral rotavirus vaccines are routinely administered in low- and middle-income countries (LMIC) but are only 50% effective compared to 85–98% effectivity in high-income countries. One major cause could be environmental enteric dysfunction (EED), which is pervasive in children in LMIC. Their clinical trial of 600 newborns from western Kenya indicated that administering weekly probiotics and synbiotics (Lactobacilli and Bifidobacteria) up to age six months improved gut health and prevented EED-associated inflammation. They will use stored plasma samples and vaccination records to determine the impact of EED and systemic inflammation, as well as pro- and synbiotic effects on rotavirus vaccine efficacy.

Show Descriptions
Results per page

Great ideas come from everywhere.

Sign up for email updates of the latest grant opportunities and awards.

View the Grand Challenges partnership network

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is part of the Grand Challenges partnership network. Visit www.grandchallenges.org to view the map of awarded grants across this network and grant opportunities from partners.