How Billionaires Plan To Wipe Out Disease

Facebook founder, Mark Zuckerberg and his wife,  Priscilla Chan, have teamed up to form the Chan-Zuckerberg initiative, in which they plan to eliminate all disease.

To achieve such an incredible feat, the initiative plans to invest $3 billion in high-risk scientific research.

It is a $3 billion plan that has already created the independent non-profit, Biohub. Biohub plans to utilize $50 million in funding that will go towards the recruitment of 47 scientists, technologists, and engineers from some of the greatest research institutes in the nation: UC-Berkeley, UCSF, and Stanford. 

One central theme in the recruitment of innovators is the idea of risk. While many public institutions award grants based on certain variables, Biohub’s co-founder, Stephen Quake asserts that they, “are trying to take on things that are above their[public institution’s] threshold of risk.”

 However, this does not mean that the researchers intend to go without additional funding sources. In fact, the 3 billion dollars allocated to the Chan-Zuckerberg Initiative pales in comparison the $30 billion that the National Institute of Health (NIH) spends annually on medical research. 

You might be scratching your head thinking how $3 billion dollars from Chan and Zuckerberg will somehow be the key to eradicating all diseases when the NIH itself spends $30 billion annually.

 When it comes to the Chan-Zuckerberg Initiative, it’s not just about the money, it’s about the method.  It’s about accelerating non-traditional means of research that may, in the long-run, lead to more impactful outcomes.

The aim is to spread $1.5 million across a five-year period to the selected scientists so that they are more likely to receive an NIH grant later.As they say: with great risk, comes great return. Hopefully, the bold methods of this initiative will pay off and we will have better methods to combat disease.

Photo Credit: Getty Images

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