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Bill Gates gives a million dollars to Cardiff Dermatology research team

Cardiff Department of Dermatology and Wound Healing has been awarded nearly one million dollars (£630,000) by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The award comes from the foundation’s Global Health Program and was secured by head of department, Professor Vincent Piguet.

The money will go towards developing a new technique for vaccination, which could lead to a breakthrough in preventing the spread of HIV, tuberculosis and other serious infections. The vaccine will be delivered using thousands of tiny microneedles in a patch applied to the skin. The aim of the technique is to target “dendritic cells” in the skin, which are key to the body’s defence against such serious infections as HIV, TB and Cytomegalovireus (CMV), and increase the body’s own immune response.

The department will be working with the EFLP (École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne) in Switzerland, as well as Oxford and Harvard Universities.

Could targeting the skin help prevent the spread of HIV?