To assist at a "critical turning point" in the fight against the growing Ebola epidemic, Mark Zuckerberg and his wife, Priscilla Chan, have announced a $25 million donation to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
"It has infected 8,400 people so far, but it is spreading very quickly and projections suggest it could infect 1 million people or more over the next several months if not addressed," the 30-year-old Facebook founder said. "We need to get Ebola under control in the near term so that it doesn't spread further and become a long-term global health crisis that we end up fighting for decades at large scale, like HIV or polio.
"We believe our grant is the quickest way to empower the CDC and the experts in this field to prevent this outcome," he said.
Zuckerberg's gift comes as the crisis unfolding in West Africa enters a new stage of alarm, with the World Health Organization warning that new cases of the disease may exceed 10,000 per week in as little as two months. The WHO also increased the death rate from Ebola from 50 percent to 70 percent, adding that if more countries do not become involved, a lot more people will perish. The disease has already killed nearly 4,500 people.
"Grants like this directly help the frontline responders in their heroic work," Zuckerberg added. "These people are on the ground setting up care centers, training local staff, identifying Ebola cases and much more. We are hopeful this will help save lives and get this outbreak under control."
Zuckerberg, worth an estimated $33 billion, recently topped a list of the most generous Americans after donating close to $1 billion in 2013. His gift to the CDC follows recent donations from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation ($50 million) and Paul Allen ($20 million).
“A winnable battle should never be lost,” said Allen. “Now is the time to respond to this crisis with the speed and resources needed to support all who are working hard to contain, and ultimately tackle, this horrible disease.”
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