URBANA, ILLINOIS Malaria kills more than two million people per year and causes sickness in 300–500 million. But despite the continuing toll, funding for malaria research, treatment and prevention has been scarce and two decades of efforts to develop a vaccine have so far been unsuccessful. The situation grew so dire that the Institute of Medicine concluded in a 1996 report that "the outlook for malaria control is grim."

So it was big news when an anonymous donor gave a $100 million on 7 May to the Bloomberg School of Public Health at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore for a new research center devoted entirely to understanding and stopping malaria.

That funding is the latest of several initiatives to combat the disease, including a new research push from the National Institutes of Health — also announced 7 May — to boost malaria, tuberculosis and HIV research, $115 million from the...

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