Paul Allen re-upped his commitment to fighting the deadly yet preventable Ebola virus this week by awarding $11 million in new grants to several organizations.
The announcement comes almost a year after Allen committed to giving $100 million to fight Ebola in West Africa.
Allen’s Ebola Program reports in a release that “while critical progress has been made over the past year, the 2014 West Africa Ebola outbreak exposed significant gaps in the world’s ability to effectively respond to global health crises. Past experience suggests that the world is likely to confront another major outbreak fueled by similar challenges confronted in this outbreak: gaps in infrastructure and logistics, a lack of data and coordination, and inadequate diagnostics.”
To help further the fight to abolish Ebola — and hopefully prevent other outbreaks — Allen’s organization awarded seven grants to organizations that will tackle different aspects of the fight: emergency infrastructure and logistics, diagnostics, and data strengthening and coordination.
The orgs receiving funding include: the World Food Programme, the Food Protection and Defense Institute at the University of Minnesota, Baylor College of Medicine, Chembio, BD (Becton, Dickinson and Co.), Foundation for Innovative New Diagnostics, and UNOCHA.
Interestingly enough, last week at our GeekWire Summit, when one set of panelists was asked, “What keeps you up at night?”, Hugo and Nebula award-winning author Nancy Kress cited massive outbreaks as her biggest worry:
“We are way overdue for the next large plague,” Kress said. “We do not have antibiotics that are very good. There are approximately 700,000 deaths globally, 50,000 in U.S. alone, from infections that are resistant to everything we can throw at them. We are vastly underprepared for any plague or infection.”
It’s also what keeps Allen’s former Microsoft colleague Bill Gates up at night. Gates told Vox in a video interview earlier this year that his greatest concern for humanity is a massive outbreak of an infectious disease.
Below, see an infographic that Paul Allen’s Ebola Program has created based on what we now know from the most recent Ebola outbreak: