Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg are working together to fund research for COVID-19 treatments as the pandemic continues to spread (FB)

03/27/2020 | Business Insider USA | Lisa Eadicicco
Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg

The Chan Zuckerberg Initiative announced on Friday that it's contributing $25 million to an accelerator run by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation for finding treatments for COVID-19.

The Chan Zuckerberg Initiative , the philanthropic organization that Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and his wife Priscilla Chan launched in 2015, announced on Friday that it's contributing $25 million to Bill Gates' accelerator for developing therapies and medicine to treat COVID-19.

The contribution from Zuckerberg and his wife comes after the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation launched the COVID-19 Therapeutics Accelerator earlier in March. Mastercard and charity foundation Wellcome are also partnering with Bill & Melinda Gates as part of the initiative, which started with $125 million in seed funding at its launch.

The goal of the project is to develop affordable treatments to COVID-19 that can be distributed at scale. The accelerator will evaluate new and repurpose existing drugs to for the treatment of COVID-19 patients, and hopes to use its research to fight other viral pathogens in the long term as well. The COVID-19 Therapeutics Accelerator will also be working with the World Health Organization on the project.

Evaluating existing drugs is particularly important because since they've already gone through clinical safety trials, it would be much quicker to make them available at scale than developing a new vaccine, Zuckerberg wrote in a Facebook post on Friday.

The announcement is one of several efforts that Silicon Valley tech giants are making in an effort to help combat the spreading coronavirus, which has killed nearly 25,000 people around the world and infected more than half a million.

Amazon and Microsoft contributed to a $2.5 million relief fund for deploying resources to organizations working with communities impacted by the coronavirus outbreak in the Seattle area. Facebook has also launched a $100 million program to help small businesses impacted by the pandemic, and Apple said it would donate 10 million protective face masks to relief efforts in the United States.

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