Mark Zuckerberg — and his wife's philanthropic organization, the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative (CZI) — committed $25 million to the "COVID-19 Therapeutics Accelerator" on Friday, earlier put forward by Bill Gates and his Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, according to a CZI announcement.
Mark Zuckerberg gives $25 million to Bill Gates' initiative
CZI announced it had given $25 million to the "COVID-19 Therapeutics Accelerator" on Friday, according to the CZI website. The donation was made in collaboration with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Mastercard, and Wellcome. This marks the first major COVID-19-related donation Zuckerberg has offered, which will work to help the world develop a treatment for the novel coronavirus, and eventually curate a vaccine.
Meanwhile, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation had led the billionaire push through a plurality of initiatives: including a CDC chatbot to help potentially infected people self-assess their status, tracking software to map the spread of novel coronavirus cases and $100 million in philanthropic funding for worldwide research on the disease. Recently, Bill Gates held a frank and issues-spanning conversation with the founder of the TED Talks series on the numerous ways governments have failed to effectively curb the spread of COVID-19.
"We're excited to partner with the Gates Foundation, Wellcome, and Mastercard to help the biomedical research community quickly identify, develop, and test treatments for COVID-19," read CZI's official statement. "The Therapeutics Accelerator will enable researchers to quickly determine whether or not existing drugs have a potential benefit against COVID-19. We hope these coordinated efforts will help stop the spread of COVID-19 as well as provide shared, reusable strategies to respond to future pandemics."
Bill Gates' Therapeutics Accelerator
Now in possession of CZI's $25 million donation, the total funds available to global experts from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation's COVID-19 Therapeutics Accelerator would seem to rise from $125 million to $150 million.
This additional funding will help experts carry out in-depth research for potential treatments to the novel coronavirus. However, it could be years before a viable vaccine is found with the capability of working at a scale that will limit the spread of the virus — until then, a means of treating the symptoms would go a long way.
Increased funding of Bill Gates' initiative from Mark Zuckerberg could expedite the race to develop and distribute a new treatment to pharmaceutical companies, following the acquisition of necessary regulatory approval. Funding may also help researchers take another long look at existing drugs, to assess their viability as potential treatments for the COVID-19 coronavirus, which would at worst possibly provide the world with a critical stopgap, and reduce the strain on hospitals and intensive care units — strained beyond belief, where ventilators are in short supply.