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Zuckerberg fund pledges $3 bn to banish disease

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San Francisco, United States | AFP | 

Mark Zuckerberg and his wife on Wednesday pledged $3 billion over the next decade to efforts to prevent, cure or manage disease, aiming to use the Facebook founder’s fortune for innovative research.

“This is a big goal,” Zuckerberg said at a San Francisco event announcing the effort of the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative established by the couple.

“But we spent the last few years speaking with experts who think it is possible, so we dug in.”

Zuckerberg and his doctor wife, Priscilla Chan, had their daughter Max late last year. Shortly after, they pledged to donate 99 percent of their Facebook holdings or some $45 billion to “advance human potential and promote equality.”

At Wednesday’s event, Zuckerberg said their goal is to cure all disease, or at least turn catastrophic illnesses from terminal to manageable.

Chan, fighting back tears at times, said that curing all disease within Max’s lifetime will not mean children won’t ever get sick, but it would happen less often and be less severe.

The first investment being made as part of what the Zuckerbergs hoped would become a “collective” effort will be the creation of a bio-hub in San Francisco where researchers, scientists and others will work to build tools to better study and understand diseases.

“Throughout the history of science, most breakthroughs have been preceded by the invention of some new technology that lets you see things in new ways,” Zuckerberg said, mentioning the microscope and DNA sequencing as examples.

“Tools also create breakthroughs in how we treat diseases.”

 

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