Chinese billionaire Zhang Yiming, the founder of massively popular social media app TikTok, has pledged $10 million to the COVID-19 Therapeutics Accelerator founded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
Forbes reports that Zhang Timing, the 36-year-old Chinese billionaire and founder of the social media app TikTok, has pledged $10 million to the COVID-19 Therapeutics Accelerator, a project founded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
Other donors to the Accelerator include the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation, and leftist pop star Madonna. A spokesperson for Zhang commented on his donation, stating:
While [Zhang] has met Bill Gates a couple of times in passing, he does not know him well but has tremendous respect for Bill and Melinda Gates’ systematic approach and ongoing efforts in contributing to philanthropy. He sees them as an inspiration for all entrepreneurs fortunate enough to be in a position to give back to the community.
The Accelerator was launched in March with a fund of $125 million backed by the Gates Foundation, the Wellcome Trust, and Mastercard. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and his wife Priscilla Chan’s philanthropic arm then announced a $24 million gift to the fund in April. Pop singer Madonna and the U.K. government have also donated but the size of their donations was not disclosed.
Trevor Mundel, president of the global health division at the Gates Foundation, commented on the Accelerator and the donations stating:
Philanthropic, government and private sector organizations, as well as individuals like Zhang Yiming demonstrate the wide array of donors who understand the value of collaboration in developing effective drugs to help turn the tide of this pandemic. Until we have a vaccine, expanded testing, isolation and treatment are our best options.
The Accelerator states that its mission is to coordinate research, remove barriers to dry development and scale-up treatments to the Wuhan coronavirus with fast and flexible funding. The Accelerator is working with the World Health Organization, researchers, governments, the private sector, and global regulators to get drugs related to the Wuhan coronavirus fast-tracked to market.