Bill Gates is donating $12 million to fund research for a universal flu vaccine.
The billionaire spoke Friday at the annual meeting for the Massachusetts Society of Medicine in Boston, where he announced that the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is partnering with Google co-founder and Alphabet CEO Larry Page and his wife, Lucy Page, for research on the vaccine, Quartz reported.
“To broaden efforts even further, today we are launching a $12 million Grand Challenge in partnership with the Page family to accelerate the development of a universal flu vaccine,” Gates said in his remarks. “The goal is to encourage bold thinking by the world’s best scientists across disciplines, including those new to the field.”
One hundred years ago, the 1918 Spanish flu epidemic killed 50 million worldwide, Gates said, estimating that an outbreak of the same scale would kill 30 million people in six months.