You never know what will happen when two billionaires get together – will they fight? Will they start singing off-tune pop standards? Will they multiply? But when Elizabeth Holmes and Carlos Slim put their heads together, it ended up being a pretty great development for Slim's home country of Mexico, as the Carlos Slim Foundation and Holmes' Theranos blood-testing firm are forming a non-profit alliance to bring better blood testing to more people in Mexico.
Elizabeth Holmes developed her Theranos blood-testing system in part because of her fear of needles, and as a result, it requires only a single drop of the subject's blood in order to run a very extensive gamut of medical tests. The procedure is said to require only a pinprick that's virtually painless, which makes it a significant improvement over preexisting blood testing procedures. So the company makes a natural fit with the Carlos Slim Foundation, which is dedicated to the causes of both healthcare and innovative new technology, both of which overlap with the Theranos M.O.
More specifically, Theranos is joining forces with an arm of the Carlos Slim Foundation called CASALUD, which is focused on solutions to chronic disease, maternal health, and illness prevention. Theranos will aid CASALUD significantly in the fruition of one of the Slim Foundation's most important initiatives – Integrated Measurement for Timely Detection, a system designed to improve medical testing in Mexico in both efficiency and effectiveness. The Theranos blood-testing method isn't just more efficient and comprehensive than traditional blood tests, it's also significantly cheaper at a fraction of what old-fashioned blood tests cost.
The improved testing methods will first be tried out by clinics and other testing centers already participating in CASALUD programs, but even Mexican citizens who think they're completely healthy will benefit from the wider availability of Theranos blood-testing in Mexico. That's because, according to the Foundation, the tests will diagnose conditions that might otherwise go undetected in a more timely manner – conditions including diabetes, hypertension, dyslipidemia, and more, by honing in on data points from outside the subject's drop of blood like their weight and blood pressure, and also stuff like glucose and cholesterol levels.
You might be wondering how Carlos Slim and Elizabeth Holmes can afford to give so much of their time and labor over to non-profit medical initiatives. As it turns out, the answer is pretty simple: They're both loaded. That's especially true in the case of Carlos Slim, who has a net worth of almost $73 billion, which currently ranks him as the second richest person on Earth. But don't worry about Elizabeth Holmes – even though she's not quite as rich as Slim, she isn't doing too badly either, with a net worth of $4.7 billion, most of which comes from Theranos, a company she started on her own after dropping out of Stanford University. Despite how it sounds, the name "Theranos" doesn't come from a Marvel comic book, but is instead a combination of the words "therapy" and "diagnose," which are two things this partnership between Slim and Holmes are bringing to the masses of Mexico in a form that wouldn't have been possible even a short time ago.