# PATH

### A note on this page's publication date

The content on this page has not been recently updated. This content is likely to be no longer fully accurate, both with respect to the research it presents and with respect to what it implies about our views and positions.

GiveWell aims to find the best giving opportunities we can and recommend them to donors (why we recommend so few charities). We tend to put a lot of investigation into the organizations we find most promising, and de-prioritize others based on limited information. When we decide not to prioritize an organization, we try to create a brief writeup of our thoughts on that charity because we want to be as transparent as possible about our reasoning. The following write-up should be viewed in this context: it explains why we determined that (for the time being), we won't be prioritizing the organization in question as a potential top charity. This write-up should not be taken as a "negative rating" of the charity. Rather, it is our attempt to be as clear as possible about the process by which we came to our top recommendations.
PATH does not currently qualify for our highest ratings. PATH has some arguably impressive achievements to its credit, and its ongoing funded activities may be promising as well. However, when examining the activities on which marginal dollars are likely to be spent, we do not see an outstanding case for impact. This situation may reflect that PATH gets significant funding (some of it with few strings attached) from a major funder, the Gates Foundation. More information:
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Published: September 2012

### Why did we consider PATH promising?

We prioritized analysis of PATH because of its track record of developing technology products for developing world health. These products include its vaccine vial monitor,1 Soloshot AD syringe,2 and its role in developing malaria3 and rotavirus4 vaccines. We haven't deeply investigated these cases, but have the rough impression that the products in question have proven useful, and we investigated PATH further to determine if it had room for more funding for current projects similar to those above. We spoke with representatives from PATH about its activities; we also spoke with a representative of PATH's Malaria Vaccine Initiative (an initiative that is part of PATH but raises its own funds).

### Considering PATH for unrestricted funding

We met with PATH representatives at its office on September 21, 2011 aiming to (a) better understand PATH's approach to development and (b) learn more about how it would use additional funds.5 We were trying to determine whether additional unrestricted funds would be used in a way that would be likely to lead to product developments like the ones listed above. PATH articulated two potential uses for additional unrestricted funds: 6
• The "PATH fund." The fund is supported by unrestricted donations. PATH staff can apply for funding for small projects and if successful, these can become larger projects. These funds support projects such as literature reviews, white papers, development of proposals for larger grants, and small-scale testing of new approaches, for example, for diabetes testing. We reviewed several examples of such projects.7

## Sources

• 1. PATH, “World's smartest sticker: For ten years vaccine vial monitors have flagged spoiled vaccine.”
• 2. PATH, “ Technology Solutions for Global Health: SoloShot.”
• 3. PATH, “Developing malaria vaccines: Investing in the tools of the trade.”
• 4. PATH, “Accelerating access to rotavirus vaccines: Protection for the world's poorest countries.”
• 5. GiveWell, “Notes from meeting with PATH representatives (September 21, 2011).”
• 6. GiveWell, “Notes from meeting with PATH representatives (September 21, 2011).”
• 7.
• Weigl, Drake and Harner-Jay 2011.
• PATH, "ARV Therapy Proposal."
• PATH, "Gestational Diabetes Screening."
• 8. PATH, “Window of Opportunity project: An integrated approach to health and development in Africa.”
• 9. PATH Malaria Vaccine Initiative, "About Us."
• 10. New England Journal of Medicine, "First Results of Phase 3 Trial of RTS,S/AS01 Malaria Vaccine in African Children."
• 11. GiveWell, “Notes from phone conversation with Sally Ethelston, Director, Communications and Advocacy, PATH MVI (April 14, 2011).”
• 12. This is supported by our conversation with Ms. Ethelston:

GiveWell: Given Gates Foundation support, why wouldn't the Foundation just fund this? MVI: Gates is very supportive of the work we do. I can't speak on their behalf, but we see this as an opportunity to leverage funds and bring in other donors. We have the resources available to take us through mid-2012, so we’re looking to close the gap after that point.
GiveWell, “Notes from phone conversation with Sally Ethelston, Director, Communications and Advocacy, PATH MVI (April 14, 2011).”
• 13.
GiveWell: What are other potential gaps? MVI: We want to accelerate development of malaria vaccines which means failing less promising projects quickly and advancing the most promising projects as quickly as possible. We have ambitious plans in terms of where we hope to be by 2025. If all goes well with RTS,S, we hope it will be available for use within the next 5 years. We're already working on next-generation vaccines, although the first one of those would likely not be available until after 2020. Thus, MVI will have significant resource needs in the future. GiveWell: Do you know when money would make a practical difference to your ability to move on those future priorities? MVI: We expect to start needing some fairly significant inputs of resources in 2014 which means we'd hope to have commitments in 2012-2013.
GiveWell, “Notes from phone conversation with Sally Ethelston, Director, Communications and Advocacy, PATH MVI (April 14, 2011).”