How Bill Gates, a valley full of snakes and one entrepreneur took on a deadly disease
By Clare McGrane
In 1996, Bill Gates read a story in the New York Times that sparked his passion for health. The story was about a disease he’d never heard of: rotavirus. At the time it killed more than half a million children every year.
That moment was one of the factors that led him to co-found the Gates Foundationwith his wife, Melinda, and become one of the most influential figures in the history of public health.
What Gates didn’t know is halfway across the globe, a scientist in New Delhi had made a discovery that could be the key tool in fighting rotavirus. Over the next twenty years, a huge international collaboration between Bill Gates, scientists and policy makers across the globe and one exceptionally determined Indian entrepreneur turned that discovery into a unique new vaccine, called Rotavac.
The vaccine has made waves as a case study for global health solutions created in and by developing countries, with help from a network of international powers. It’s also getting attention for its incredibly low price: just $1 a dose.
Photo courtesy of Carlos Reusser Monsalvez.
- Health Care