The amount of money spent on tropical disease research fell in 2010, according to a report published by G-Finder.
Malaria was the hardest hit, but research into diarrhoeal disease, helminths (including worms and schistosomiasis), kinetoplastids (Chagas’ disease, leishmaniasis and sleeping sickness), leprosy and dengue fever fell.
While industry investment remained similar to 2009 levels, the continuing global financial crisis meant that many governments donated less money than in previous years. Of the 12 most generous governments, only the UK, Germany and Switzerland increased their spending on tropical disease research. While most government departments in the UK have had their spending cut by an average of 20 percent, Chancellor George Osborne has committed to maintaining spending on foreign aid.
A large proportion of the cut in spending was due to the Gates’ foundation, which is the second largest funder of tropical disease research worldwide. In 2010, it spent nearly $100 million less than the previous year in this area, still spending $455 million. The biggest donor by far is the US government, which spent $1.3 billion in the field last year.
Buruli ulcer and trachoma saw an increase in funding, but from a low base, and because of single research programmes rather than a sustained expansive effort.