03/14/2014 09:35 am ET Updated May 14, 2014

Gates Foundation Awards $23 Million For New Mosquito Control Method

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March 14 (Reuters) - The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has awarded $23 million for research being led by University of Notre Dame biologists to prevent malaria and dengue fever, the school said.

The five-year project by biologists Neil Lobo and Nicole Achee aims to show the effectiveness of a new method of mosquito control, called spatial repellency, in quelling the illnesses, the university said in a statement this week.

According to the World Health Organization, 207 million cases of malaria were reported in 2012, and 50 million to 100 million dengue infections occur yearly.

Both the malaria parasite and dengue virus are transmitted through the bites of infected mosquitoes. Spatial repellents, such as coils or candles, release a material that drives mosquitoes away from enclosed areas.

The Gates award is the second-largest to a single grant proposal at Notre Dame. A Microelectronics Advanced Research Corp award to fund the Center for Low Energy Systems Technology totaled $29 million. (Reporting by Ian Simpson; Editing by Scott Malone and Lisa Von Ahn)