As the coronavirus has claimed more than 132 lives and counting in China, and almost 6,000 infections and counting concentrated there and spreading to the United States and Australia, the race is on to find an effective vaccine for the virus and halt it before it spreads even more. Now, billionaire Alibaba founder and China's richest person Jack Ma has pledged 100 million yuan ($14.4 million) towards developing a vaccine as well as other treatment measures.
CNN reports that Ma's donation, made through his own foundation, puts about $5.8 million in the coffers of two Chinese government research organizations working to find a coronavirus vaccine: the Chinese Academy of Sciences and the Chinese Academy of Engineering. The rest of the money (which actually represents the larger portion) will go towards other scientists and researchers around the world also working on finding a vaccine, as well as other methods of "prevention and treatment."
Ma's company Alibaba is also helping coronavirus relief efforts by donating "AI computing power" to researchers working on finding a vaccine and other treatments. And according to the social media post from Ma's foundation, the giving won't end until the work is done:
"Jack Ma Foundation will exhaust our abilities to provide more help to the development and growth of medical science."
That's good, because according to Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the US National Institutes of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, efforts to develop a coronavirus vaccine may take more than a year on the part of these researchers and scientists. Fortunately for the people of China and the world, Ma and Alibaba isn't the only one making contributions towards these efforts, as other Chinese tech companies like smartphone brand Huawai, e-commerce brand Tencent, internet search company Baidu, ByteDance (the company that owns TikTok), and food delivery company Meituan-Dianping have all made financial contributions towards coronavirus relief.