Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and his wife, Priscilla Chan launched the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative last year to try to “advance human potential and promote equality for all children in the next generation.” The pledged to donate 99 percent of their Facebook shares worth upwards of $50 billion to the cause.
The couple held a press event in San Francisco to announce their next big project, which is to spend $3 billion over the next decade in an effort to cure prevent and manage all diseases.
“Mark and I spent the past two years talking to scientists ranging form Nobel Prize laureates to graduate students,” Chan said during an emotional talk at UCSF. “We believe that the future we all want for our children is possible. We set a goal: can we cure all diseases in our children’s lifetime? That does’t mean that no one will ever get sick. But it does mean that our children and their children should get sick a lot less. And that we should be able to detect and treat or at least manage it as an ongoing condition. Mark and I believe this is possible within our children’s lifetime.”
“We spend about 50 times more treating people who are sick than we invest in research so you won’t get sick in the first place,” – Mark Zuckerberg.
“We have to be patient. This is hard stuff,” said Zuckerberg at the event. “This is about the future that we all want for our children. If there’s even a chance that we can cure all diseases, we have to do it. We have the opportunity to leave the world a much better place than when we found it.”
“My heart is full of hope, and we are eager to get started,” said Chan to close out the event. “Let’s do this together.”
“We need more science,” Bill Gates said, when he made a surprise appearance at the end of the initiative’s presentation. Gates praised Zuckerberg and Chan for their work and said it would help to eradicate disease. “Only through science can we get an HIV vaccine, or a malaria vaccine. … We desperately need this science.”