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Gates Foundation Funds Insecticide-Treated Scarves, Reversible Male Contraceptives

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is known for funding innovative projects. The latest round of 78 grants doesn't disappoint, with recipients across 18 countries and six continents receiving $100,000 apiece for inventions that prevent and diagnose infectious disease and promote family health. It's hard to pick favorites, but we think you'll agree that the projects listed below are unique, to say the least.

  • Ultrasound as a reversible male contraceptive: James Tsuruta and Paul Dayton of the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill in the U.S. plan to study the possibility that ultrasound can temporarily deplete testicular sperm counts for contraceptive purposes.
  • Optomagnetic Finger Scanner for Malaria: Eugene Chan at the DNA Medicine Institute is working on this project, which uses a battery-powered  finger scanner to detect and measure hemozoin (a byproduct formed by malaria parasites) through the capillaries.
  • Insecticide-treated traditional scarves: David Sintasath of the Malaria Consortium in Thailand will research the possibility of treating scarves worn by migrant workers along the Thai-Cambodia border with insecticides to reduce the rate of drug-resistant malaria.
  • Biologic Contraceptive: Rachel Teitelbaum of Hervana, Ltd. in Israel is developing and testing a vaginal formulation that secretes a sperm motility-inhibiting agent to interfere with fertilization.
  • Circumcision Tool For Traditional Ceremonies In Africa: Kathleen Sienko at the University of Michigan has developed a circumcision tool for use in traditional ceremonies in Africa. Sienko hopes to demonstrate the functionality, cultural suitability, and potential for low-cost mass production of the device—potentially as a way to lower rates of HIV transmission.

Check out the full list here. It's worth browsing through the whole thing.