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Harvard Malaria Initiative to Use Exxon Grant to Study Genomics of Malaria-causing Organism

This article mistakenly reported that Exxon Mobil has funded the Harvard Malaria Initiative to sequence the genome of Plasmodium falciparum. In fact, the genome was sequenced in 2002, and the Exxon grant will help Harvard researchers study the mechanisms and genomics of the organism.


NEW YORK, Jan. 28 (GenomeWeb News) - Researchers at the Harvard Malaria Initiative will use part of a $5 million grant from Exxon Mobil to research the mechanisms and genomics of Plasmodium falciparum, the oil giant said today.


Harvard researchers will use the money to identify novel drug targets and train African scientists in anti-malarial drug techniques. The program, which did not disclose Harvard's award, is part of 24 awards Exxon Mobil has issued to help fight malaria in Africa, the company said.


"Through our African Health Inititative, we are working to support governments and health care providers to reduce the impact of this devastating disease," Rex Tillerson, president of Exxon Mobil, said in a statement.


The genome of P. falciparum, the most deadly malaria parasite, was sequenced in 2002 by the Institute for Genomic Research, Sanger, and Stanford.


Other initiative grants focused on community education, volunteer training, bednet distribution, medical supplies, marketing of long-lasting insecticide, scientific training and sanitation. Exxon Mobil is awarding the money because it has "major oil and gas production operations" in five African nations. The company also has retail, marketing, and distribution "activities" in more than 20 nations on the continent.

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