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Gates Foundation donates US$4.9 mln to SK's vaccine project

SK Chemicals Co., a petrochemical unit of South Korea's third-largest conglomerate SK Group, said Sunday it has received a donation of US$4.9 million from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation for its project to develop a vaccine for typhoid fever.

The company said the fund will be used on joint clinical testing of the vaccine through September 2017 with the International Vaccine Institute (IVI), an international organization set up in 1997 by the United Nations Development Program devoted to fighting diseases.

"With the donation, the IVI and SK Chemicals can now take their first joint step forward," the company said. "We can successfully develop the vaccine against typhoid fever on schedule by bolstering our strength and competitiveness."

The new vaccine is hoped to be effective for a longer period of time and be able to vaccinate children two years and younger.

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, one of the key contributors to the IVI, is the world's largest philanthropic organization that funds programs on health, development and education around the globe. (Yonhap)