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Chan And Zuckerberg Pledge $3 Billion To Eradicate Disease

Posted on 23 September 2016

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In an ambitious bid, the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative has released $3 billion in funding for disease prevention

Technology companies and leaders are now turning their resources to tackling disease – from artificial intelligence to improved diagnosis. With Google, IBM and Microsoft already firmly in the fray, the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative has dedicated a considerable $3 billion to prevent, cure and treat all disease by the end of the century.  How much difference will it make? The US NIH already spends a total of $32 billion a year on medical research, so the figure in itself is perhaps less impressive that it initially seems. However, $3 billion is still a large sum of money and it has been pledged specifically towards a more preventative medical stance – which is very much in line with healthy longevity efforts around the globe. To gain true prevention, we must ameliorate and eliminate the hallmarks of the aging process.  Within this funding boost, Priscilla Chan announced that $600 million has been awarded to a new BioHub project. This will work on a cell atlas map focused on unravelling the different types of cells present in the body and their effect on their surrounding tissue. BioHub will also direct efforts towards infectious disease; developing new vaccines and technology to eradicate diseases such as HIV, Zika and Ebola. 

“The Chan Zuckerberg announcement is unusual in size but is in keeping with trends amongst today’s biggest donors who want to achieve transformational change, prefer funding prevention over cure and tend to invest in causes and organisations with which they have prior connections”

A welcome boost Regardless of the publicity factor, additional funding is good news and the wider recognition that prevention should be more of a priority in medicine is certainly welcome. The greater trend towards philanthropy in the tech community is also something to celebrate, although we should continue to reinforce the importance of spending the money in the right places; not simply funnelling money into ineffective, reactive treatments.  Read more at BBC News

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