China's richest man donates over $14 million to help scientists develop coronavirus vaccine

China's richest man donates over $14 million to help scientists develop coronavirus vaccine

China's richest man has donated over $14 million USD to help scientists develop a coronavirus vaccine. This is welcome news as the death toll from the virus hits 170 with an additional 7,700+ confirmed cases, as per the BBC.

The donation was made by Jack Ma, the founder of e-commerce conglomerate Alibaba, via his foundation.

Forty percent of the endowment, equivalent to $5.8 million, will be given to the Chinese Academy of Sciences and Chinese Academy of Engineering to aid their work, and the remainder will support staff in institutions around the country.

This medic broke down in tears because of the stress of the epidemic: 

As per Forbes, the 55-year-old was the wealthiest man in China in 2019 with a net worth of $42.8 billion.

In addition to the donation, Ma's company is offering up AI intelligence free of charge to help research teams in their efforts to control the spread of the disease.

The tycoon's charity issued the following statement on Chinese social media site Weibo earlier today: "[The] Jack Ma Foundation will exhaust our abilities to provide more help to the development and growth of medical science."

Prior to this, Ma's company, Alibaba, announced that it would be donating a billion yuan ($144million) to ensure that hospitals in Wuhan and Hubei Province have the supplies they need, a statement revealed on Sunday.

Chinese lab workers. Credit: PA Images

This comes as a number of other wealthy Chinese individuals have offered up their resources to help with the crisis. As per the Chinese Entrepreneurs Magazine, a total of 4.5 billion yuan ($649 million) has been donated by 150 companies.

Some of the businesses involved include Pony Ma's Tencent ($43million), Robin Li's Baidu ($43 million), Xu Jiayin's Evergrande Group ($28 million), and Ren Zhengfei's Huawei ($4.3million).

Last week, people around the world were stunned at the quick construction of a 1,000-bed hospital needed to treat infected persons:

In an interview with China News, Li Lanjuan, an expert from China's National Health Commission, said that scientists were "very close" to developing a vaccine for the virus, however, it "will take time".

According to Lanjuan, all being well, a sample vaccine should exist within a month. It would then require two weeks to be approved and a further six weeks to be deemed suitable for use.

This will also be welcome news for the 6,000 people who were forced into quarantine on a cruise ship after a suspected case of the virus.