Mark Zuckerberg's Chan Zuckerberg Initiative to give $25M to fight COVID-19

The foundation established by the Facebook CEO and wife Priscilla Chan is the latest to donate to help find a cure for the coronavirus.

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Eli Blumenthal is a senior editor at CNET with a particular focus on covering the latest in the ever-changing worlds of telecom, streaming and sports. He previously worked as a technology reporter at USA Today.
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Chan Zuckerberg Coronavirus

Priscilla Chan and Mark Zuckerberg are the latest to donate to the coronavirus battle. 

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Mark Zuckerberg's Chan Zuckerberg Initiative is joining the struggle against the coronavirus. On Friday the Facebook  CEO and his wife, Priscilla Chan, co-founder of the initiative, appeared on CBS This Morning to announce that their foundation will be donating $25 million to the COVID-19 Therapeutics Accelerator, to help speed development of virus treatments.

Announced earlier this month, the COVID-19 Therapeutics Accelerator was created by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation in partnership with MasterCard and UK-based medical foundation Wellcome. 

The Gates Foundation and Wellcome each pledged $50 million toward the initial funding of the accelerator, with MasterCard contributing $25 million. 

Chan told CBS This Morning that the goal of the group was to "screen all the drugs that we know have potential effects against coronavirus," and she added that "figuring out drugs is always expensive, but philanthropy can do a role in kickstarting" the process. 

"Often a drug can be helpful against multiple diseases," Zuckerberg said. "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 (of the disease) and making it less damaging."

The accelerator is just one of the ways executives from major tech companies are helping fight the pandemic. 

Watch this: Coronavirus lockdown: Why social distancing saves lives

Earlier this month, Alibaba co-founder Jack Ma said he'd donate 500,000 test kits and 1 million face masks to the US, while and SpaceX head Elon Musk said he'll be directing some of his plants to make ventilators. Musk also donated equipment to UCLA Health to help personnel at the medical center. 

As of press time, there've been nearly 560,000 confirmed cases of coronavirus around the world, with more than 86,000 cases in the United States, according to tracking by Johns Hopkins University. Over 25,000 people have died as a result of the pandemic. 

Disclosure: CNET is owned by CBS.

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