Facebook Inc. (NASDAQ: FB) founder Mark Zuckerberg is working with both the University of California San Francisco and Stanford University to quadruple the Bay Area Covid-19 testing and diagnostics capabilities.
The Chan Zuckerberg Initiative's contribution to the fight against Covid-19 was disclosed by its co-founder and CEO Zuckerberg on Facebook, “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.” He added, “We're also bridging connections between clinical labs at Stanford and UCSF to help distribute the testing load throughout the area.”
The Initiative has developed a tool called Infectious Disease Sequencing (IDSeq). Zuckerberg revealed that the data covering the research, which was done in Cambodia, and the development of the diagnostic tool is available on the IDSeq website. He said, “This new data is continuing to provide scientists with valuable insights into the transmission and spread of the virus, and could hopefully unlock new discoveries that could lead to treatments.”
Why It Matters
The announcement of the purchase of additional diagnostics machines will help the Bay Area fight the Covid-19 epidemic. More than 40 people have tested positive for the disease since the end of January, but the paucity of testing facilities meant that 30 of them were only diagnosed two weeks ago.
Other Tech billionaires are also helping the fight against Covid-19. Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ: MSFT) co-founder Bill Gates announced a $125 million seed funding in conjunction with Mastercard and Wellcome Trust in an effort to fight the epidemic.
In the Seattle area, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is sponsoring a project that will expand home testing for the Covid-19 virus to thousands.
Facebook shares traded 2.52% lower at $173.70 in the pre-market session on Wednesday. The shares had closed the regular session 5.13% higher at $178.19.