Paul Allen pledges $100 million to fight Ebola

Paul Allen
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Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen went all-in Thursday in the war on the deadly Ebola virus, pledging at least $100 million for that effort.

"The Ebola virus is unlike any health crisis we have ever experienced and needs a response unlike anything we have ever seen," Allen said in a prepared statement announcing his increased monetary commitment to the Ebola battle.

"To effectively contain this outbreak and prevent it from becoming a global epidemic, we must pool our efforts to raise the funds, coordinate the resources and develop the creative solutions needed to combat this problem. I am committed to doing my part in tackling this crisis."

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"We're up against an extremely tough opponent here," the billionaire told The New York Times, which broke the news about his huge cash commitment toward stemming the epidemic. "The exponential nature of the growth of this disease is really a challenge—we've already seen in the U.S. where one case quickly became two."

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The Times noted that Allen previously had committed about $26 million to fund efforts to stop the epidemic.

Allen also has created the website www.TackleEbola.com, where donors can contribute to Ebola-related efforts such as treatment beds and hand-washing stations in West Africa, where the virus has killed almost 5,000 people. And he has set up a Twitter account, @TackleEbola.

The World Health Organization recently warned that without ramped up efforts by wealthier countries, Ebola could as many as 10,000 new people per week by December.

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"We thank Paul Allen and his foundation for their contribution on this crucial issue," said Andrew O'Brien, Special Representative for Global Partnerships, U.S. Department of State. "We hope that this sets a much needed example for what will be robust and rapid private sector leadership, working in partnership with the U.S. government."

"Mr. Allen's #TackleEbola campaign is providing an important catalyst to help us get medical responders to West Africa to fight Ebola at its epicenter. His leadership is timely and greatly augments the work that the U.S. government, international organizations, NGOs, and others are doing on the ground every day."

Allen's own money will fund the development and manufacture of two medevac containment units, which the State Department will use to evacuate medical workers from West Africa, and also will help WHO increase capacity for coordinating visits by aid workers to the virus-afflicted countries, according to a press release.

And, Allen's is donating money to the University of Massachusetts Medical School "to help provide training, medical workers and lab equipment for relief efforts in Liberia," the release said.

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"The partnership with UMMS will focus on providing decontamination and lab equipment to district hospitals as well as community outreach and education to provide monitoring and support to staff in order to reopen closed district hospitals."

Allen previously has has contributed money to Ebola-fighting efforts by the American Red Cross, UNICEF, Doctors Without Border, and the CDC Foundation, among other groups.

The full Times story can be read here.