back to article Facebook's Zuckerberg in EBOLA VIRUS FIGHT: Billionaire battles bug

Mark Zuckerberg says he is donating $25m of his own money to the US Centers for Disease Control Foundation to help fund the fight against Ebola in Africa. The Facebook founder, whose net worth is estimated at around $33bn, said he and wife Priscilla Chan will give 0.075 per cent of that sum to combat the deadly disease, which …

  1. David Webb

    In Honour...

    In honour of his donation, can we rename the virus the ZuckerBug? Please?

    1. weebs

      Re: In Honour...

      That's akin to me donating £1 to it. Come on he can give more if he wants. That's chub change and tax efficient.

      1. John H Woods Silver badge

        Re: In Honour...

        Is "chub[b] change" the amount one has in one's safe?

  2. 142
    Thumb Up


    It should probably be noted that the amount of money he's given is gargantuan in comparison to current funding.

    The National Post has determined it's more than the governments Canada, France and China combined.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Percentage...

      I doubt this somehow. If you figure in all costs since it's manufacturing discovery, the price would be much higher. I'd say the cost of the screening practices as of late are beyond 25 million. Then you have to figure in the all the costs that put this Ebola on the map decades ago. Don't get me wrong here, the 25 million will help, but I guess it's how you define "funding" that determines the monetary contributions (let alone lives and people spending their lives on it).

      Edit: You did state "current", but I'm still skeptical there isn't funding going on privately to create a cure treatment.

      1. WatAWorld

        indeed it is more than most governments according to the UK government's numbers

        "The National Post has determined it's more than the governments Canada, France and China combined."

        So let's see:

        And that was updated October 8.

        Canada £18.6 million will be provided.

        And I don't see figures for China or France there or anywhere in google, so I assume $0. (Otherwise the PR agents of those governments will be out of a job.)

        Other governments:

        Australia £7.4 million

        Finland £1,394,000

        Ireland £784,000 plus some supplies.

        Italy £4,386,000

        Switzerland £3.25 million pledged.

    2. Voland's right hand Silver badge

      Re: Percentage...


      When we compare the response now to the investment which the developed countries put into eradicating smallpox the response is laughable.

      Frankly, we are lucky that the infection ratio is so low (the "exponent" factor is order of magnitude less than flu, any of the MMR family or varicella) and that it is transmitted only via direct contact, not airborne.

      Looking at how we are reacting to it, I really would not like to think what would happen if smallpox returns (with or without some idiot's assistance) or if we get a Spanish Lady mark 2.

  3. phil dude

    diagnostics test...

    If he wanted to help, he could fund a field test, that can give a positive determination within an hour (say).

    By definition if they show symptoms the virus will be detectable. By contrast if they DON'T show symptoms they may STILL have detectable virus.

    The charade of taking temperatures is extremely worrying, because it has no molecular basis, and is of little diagnostic value (yeah, I'm a molecular guy so the bar is set rather high...).

    Mass produce a range of detectors for (*.nasty) and stick them in airports, GP surgeries etc...

    We know the sequence of the virus, we know it is RNA, there are kits to detect other RNA viruses. Collect spit, sweat, p*ss and blood, stick passengers in a room for an hour, and if ANYONE tests positive they all get shipped to the hospital for closer tests.

    False positives are likely to be a lot lower than for temp>99F.

    My $0.02


    1. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

      Re: diagnostics test...

      May I humbly suggest that Zuck takes his money and put into medical services on the ground. It would be far more useful there.

      There is a 2-3hr test for Ebola about to become available. It is being developed in the UK (southampton). There was a bit about it on BBC Radio 5 earlier this morning.(between 06:00 and 06:20) I listened to it as I drove into work.

      The current CDC test requires cold storage and leccy. The new test can be freze dried for easy shipment and storage.

      1. Sir Runcible Spoon

        Re: diagnostics test...

        Considering that the current 'screening' at Heathrow consists of the person being

        1) asked if they want to be screened

        2) filling in the checkboxes on the forms themselves

        I watched an interview with a documentary maker this morning who went through the process - they said yes to the screening (hence could report on how it was conducted) and was even then offered a HANDSHAKE at the end of the 'test'.

        His response was predictable, just having come from a country where no-one shakes hands at the moment. The lack of training for the airport process is frightening - it's almost as if the power behind the scenes wants Ebola to spread to reduce world numbers a bit - especially as its infection vector is less contagious than many other nasties.

        I am getting very cynical in my old age, but I can imagine someone power-monger somewhere thinking that he could protect himself from ebola whilst everyone else* gets it and reduces the planetary load by around 70%

        *poor people obviously

  4. Graham Marsden

    Great, but...

    ... perhaps he could also consider donating a similar sum to provide funding for decent health-care in Africa, parts of which, such as Liberia, have one Doctor for every 100,000 people...

    1. The Indomitable Gall

      Re: Great, but...

      There has only ever been one Doctor! (Well, at any given time, that is....)

    2. Graham Marsden

      Re: Great, but...

      Ok, perhaps the people who have downvoted me would care to explain *WHY* they did so?

      Two simple questions: 1) What good is having a vaccine if you don't have the medical staff on the ground to administer it? 2) Do you really think that Western volunteers are a long term solution?

      And a follow up: Once you have those staff, you can improve medical care for all the people who need it. Do you think that's a bad thing??

      1. Graham Marsden

        Re: Great, but...

        > perhaps the people who have downvoted me would care to explain *WHY* they did so?

        Clearly not...

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Facebook vs Ebola

    Both nasty and hard to cure. Hard to know which one is more virulent. Luckily I don't suffer from either and let's hope it stays that way.

  6. WatAWorld

    Good for Zuckerberg and The Giving Pledge Organization

    Good for Zuckerberg.

    And good for Bill Gates and Warren Buffet for starting the The Giving Pledge which is an organization for as many of the world's wealthiest individuals and families as will join to commitment to dedicate the *majority* of their wealth (over 50%) to philanthropy.

    Here's the full list of pledging billionaires and billionaire families participating:

    Click on their photos to read their pledges.

    This is a really big deal: Traditionally wealthy people have passed the wealth on to their immediate descendents, sometimes just their eldest sons. This is billionaires saying we don't want that kind of generational hegemony over the world. An easy thing for the rest of us to tell them to do, but a big break from history and historical practice for them. (Plus they've got to tell their kids.)

    (Journalists: It would be interesting to read a list of those on the Forbes Top 100 Wealthiest Individuals who are not also on The Giving Pledge.)

  7. WatAWorld

    Forbes Top 100 Wealthiest Individuals who are not also on The Giving Pledge.

    Journalists: It would be interesting to read a list of those on the Forbes Top 100 Wealthiest Individuals who are not also on The Giving Pledge.

  8. WatAWorld

    Doctors Without Borders

    Anyone who thinks Zuckerberg isn't doing enough can go here and make their own donation:

    There is no rule you need to be a billionaire, and many of us regular workers in the IT industry have above average incomes for the western countries in which we live.

  9. FreeTard


    25 mill is a drop in the ocean of his dosh, he's just using this for self publicity and the obvious tax write off. He should just donate and not tell anyone - like the rest of us do. FFS.

    1. Tom Maddox Silver badge

      Re: Pff

      Maybe, just maybe, he asked the CDC how much they needed, and that's the number they gave him. Or, possibly, he used some other algorithm. Given, as posted above, he's donating more than many entire governments, I'd say it's still generous. Also, perhaps by making an announcement, he's hoping to motivate others to donate as well.

      No, you're right, the only possible answer is that it's self-aggrandizement.

  10. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    Good on him

    Zuckerberg is giving a mountain of money for a worthy cause and that deserves some measure of congratulations. Anything that can help fight this is needed, it doesn't matter who it comes from or why.

    And I don't care if its pennies compared to his fortune, it's a good gesture and that counts.

    I still hate the guy though, and I'll die before signing up to Facebook.

    But good on him for that.

    Now I just want to know if this is just a publicity stunt to make Mr Bitch! seem more palatable to the general public, or if he's actually doing this out of the pureness of his heart (cough).

    1. The Indomitable Gall

      Re: Good on him

      "Zuckerberg is giving a mountain of money for a worthy cause"

      And that worthy cause is Zuckerberg trying to minimise his chances of getting the disease.

      1. Tom Maddox Silver badge

        Re: Good on him

        Well, right now, his chances are somewhere south of 1 in 300 million, so he must be very cautious indeed if he's concerned about danger to himself!

  11. Ginolard

    The disappointment.....

    Just reading the headline had me believing he had contracted the virus. Way to crush my dreams El Reg

  12. kmac499

    Publicity Stunt ?

    Don't know Don't care, I'm sure the guys at CDC are currently operating on a "All contributions gratefully accepted" mode.

    If the epidemic does explode out from West Africa with all the consequences, Human and Economic, I'd be knocking on Apple, Google, Starbucks et als door with a simple 'request'..

    All that Tax due on the cash you piled up in offshore havens hand it over now...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Publicity Stunt ?

      government agencies aren't supposed to take donations without following a specific Grant Process.

      this is like someone "donating" millions to the FBI. Or the CIA. Or the city's Police Department.

      Anyone else would call that a bribe or some such. Paying for a given result, and I suspect the money won't stay at the CDC, unless it becomes the justification of "releasing" an equivalent amount of that agency's budget for something else.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Full marks to him

    but 0.075% of his wealth is misleading. You should be quoting his cash wealth. My property makes up most of my wealth so if I gave away 0.075% of my total wealth I'd have to sell some of it.

  14. Amorous Cowherder
    Thumb Up

    If he actually coughs up the money he's doing better than most governments, who "pledge" they will send money to help disasters and often time only send about 1% of the sum pledged.

    I believe our government here in jolly old Blighty once pledged something like £90m to help with an earthquake appeal, in the end they managed to send a measly £100k!

  15. Rob 44


    Guess the old saying still stands true: "A little bit of charity hides a multitude of sins".

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    a campaign contribution by any other name

    buys as much forgiveness and access to lawmakers as any other donation. But this time, it's aboveboard.

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