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Microsoft billionaire Bill Gates is one of the world's major funders of health research, so he should start making use of his influence, according to an editorial in Nature this week.

Gates' main interest is bridging the gap between basic research and drug development in neglected diseases. As a single-minded businessman, he has cut through bureaucracy and set up model systems: for example, providing essential vaccines to some 30 million children since 1999.

Faced with the choice between current and future needs, the Foundation's initial strategy to tackle the biggest disease burdens cannot be faulted. But now it's time for Gates to speak out, says the journal, and get world leaders to commit to practical solutions.

Link to full Nature editorial

Reference: Nature 425, 435 (2003)

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