Mark Zuckerberg and his wife Priscilla Chan will now be funding a huge increase in testing the Coronavirus or COVID-19 in the San Francisco Bay Area.
This will be through two of their philanthropic groups
The Facebook CEO has announced on his personal Facebook page that he and his wife Priscilla are now organizing the funding that they have been planning to do through the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative and the Chan Zuckerberg Biohub. These Philanthropies will be funding two new Medical Diagnostic Machines or the MDM.
Zuckerberg has said in his post that, "As part of our response to the coronavirus outbreak, our team at the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative is working with UCSF and Stanford to quadruple the Bay Area's testing and diagnostics capacity. We're funding the acquisition of state-of-the-art FDA approved COVID-19 diagnostic machines that will significantly increase the Bay Area's ability to test and diagnose new cases. We're also bridging connections between clinical labs at Stanford and UCSF to help distribute the testing load throughout the area."
This move is similar to Microsoft co-founder Bill Gate's announcement to use his own personal funds to help aid the strict limitations on the federal government's coronavirus testing. While Zuckerberg aids the Bay Area, The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, which is partnering with the University of Washington, will be funding at-home testing kits for Coronavirus for Seattle area's residents which marked the first COVID-19 case that surfaced in the United States.
Zuckerberg and Gates have also funded and backed a disease tracker
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and Priscilla Chan pledged $3 Billion in 2016 to help fight infectious diseases wherein they chose biochemist Joe DeRisi to co-helm the pair's first investment which is the $600 million Chan Zuckerberg Biohub research center.
With their help, a cloud-based open-source bioinformatics pipeline for metagenomic sequencing called IDSeq has been developed to track down diseases and can be used for the Coronavirus outbreak.
This is a computer code that was created that can go through every genetic material that is extracted from a sample provided. Running the IDSeq only needs a sequencer that users know how to operate and an internet connection.
This has proved to detect the spread of known pathogens and actually serves a heads up for new ones that are yet to emerge. In fact, when a team ran a sample through this, the results showed that most of the reads completely matched the virus in Wuhan just weeks before the outbreak and that scientists can tell that this coronavirus is related to SARS but has not yet been characterized.
With their goal to spread the research to more scientists, especially those who are under-resourced and have limitations when it comes to research, Biohub has partnered and teamed up with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. The Grants from this foundation have brought 10 teams of researchers from various countries to learn more and understand how to use IDSeq in the with resources from the Biohub.
This metagenomic sequencing can make a lot of difference when it comes to diseases such as the coronavirus. The IDSeq can tremendously help scientists all over the world detect any kind of pandemic that can happen in the future.