Zuckerberg will team up with Gates to research coronavirus treatment

Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and his wife Priscilla Chan announced on Friday plans to partner with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, putting $25m of their money behind an effort to develop therapeutic treatments for the Covid-19 coronavirus, news wires reported.

The Chan-Zuckerberg Initiative (CZI) will join Gates and others to put together something they're calling the 'therapeutics accelerator to fight coronavirus," Chan told CBS This Morning in an exclusive interview. She explained that the collective's goal will be "to fund a group to screen all the drugs that we know have potential effects against coronavirus."

The Gates Foundation donated $50m last month to what it’s calling the “COVID-19 Therapeutics Accelerator. The donation from the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative brings the total funding to $125 million.

"Part of the idea," Zuckerberg said, is that a single drug can often be used against multiple diseases. "So you can basically take all those drugs that have already been screened as safe and test them to see if they might also have a positive impact for either preventing the coronavirus, or reducing the symptoms and making it less damaging."

The donation is among the biggest single grants to an outside organization ever given by CZI, which was established in 2015.

Social media giant Facebook has not been spared from the effects of the pandemic, either. Due to coronavirus precautions, its 45,000 employees are all working from home. According to Zuckerberg, even those who cannot fulfill their jobs from home will still get "paid in full" during the uncertain period. The tech billionaire said he hopes the pledge to pay all employees would set an example for other companies. "There are a lot of companies that I think can afford to take care of their people, and I think we have a responsibility to do that," he said.

More on this subject: Coronavirus

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