President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf of Liberia delivered the keynote address at the 11th Annual Gala for Global Health, as the Centre for Infectious Disease Research raised hundreds of thousands of dollars to support its pioneering research to find vaccines, drugs and diagnostics for the world’s deadliest infectious diseases.
More than 700 guests attended the event in Bellevue to support the Centre and see President Sirleaf speak about the challenges of leading a country devastated by Ebola and other infectious diseases. Paul G. Allen, philanthropist and founder and chairman of Vulcan Inc., was also in attendance to receive the Centre’s ‘Champion for Global Health Award’.
‘It was a tremendous privilege to host President Sirleaf and Mr Allen at our gala,’ said Alan Aderem, PhD, President and Director of the Centre for Infectious Disease Research. ‘We are incredibly thankful to the hundreds of people who came to see these inspiring individuals speak and support our critical mission of developing vaccines, drugs and diagnostics to help save the lives of the millions of people who die from infectious diseases every year.’
At the conclusion of President Sirleaf’s speech, Lisa Cohen, Executive Director of the Washington Global Health Alliance, moderated a question and answer session with President Sirleaf, Dr. Aderem, and Trevor Mundel, PhD, President of the Global Health Division of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
As well as being awarded the ‘Champion for Global Health Award’, Mr Allen has also been a key leader in the fight against Ebola. As the largest private donor, he pledged $100 million to the effort and established The Paul G. Allen Ebola Programme, the only programme of its kind focused on ending Ebola in West Africa.
‘Thanks to the courage and incredible work of thousands of people in the global and West African health communities, the leadership of President Sirleaf and other elected officials, and the tireless efforts of organisations, including the Centre for Infectious Disease Research, we have made meaningful progress in the fight against Ebola and other infectious diseases,’ said Mr Allen.
Stefan Kappe, PhD, Professor and Director of translational science at the Centre for Infectious Disease Research, also announced during the gala that the Centre is in the process of finalising a new partnership with Group Health to begin the next phase of clinical trials for a promising malaria vaccine candidate.