Researchers at the Helmholtz Center for Infection Research in Germany know that pollen can penetrate skin through hair follicles. Now they want to see if they can make nanoparticles that can do the same thing to deliver a payload of antigens and adjuvants in a novel vaccine delivery system that is activated by sweat. And it's one in a long lineup of new vaccine research projects that earned a $100,000 grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
This is the fourth year for Gates' Grand Challenges Explorations grants, which are designed to provide essential seed money for some unconventional research projects that are attempting to make interesting technological leaps forward. And given Gates' avid interest in bankrolling new technologies, the vaccine research field was once again well represented in the annual grant bonanza.
At the University of Strathclyde, scientists will use Gates' money to advance their work on a new vaccination system that combines immunology, parasitology and laser technology. And Susanne Nylen Spoormaker of the Karolinska Institute in Sweden will study whether treating patients for worm infections can help boost the effectiveness of vaccines.
Of course, Gates isn't only interested in new vaccine technology. He's funding several projects that are looking to stop mosquitoes from spreading malaria. And he's even backing researchers who want to see if they can create clouds to cool a warming planet.