Following his $100 million commitment to tackling Ebola, Paul Allen was one of the first to pledge support for efforts to stop the Zika outbreak, which began in Latin America and grew quickly. The funding supported new tools to detect Zika, while simultaneously mounting broad community engagement efforts to mitigate the outbreak’s impact.
The focus on Zika was another example of his ongoing support for health research and public health initiatives. Also, the lessons from Ebola taught the global community that greater speed, integration and innovation are critical when responding to outbreaks of infectious diseases and in preventing future pandemics.
In an increasingly connected and changing world, the threat of dangerous infectious diseases will never disappear. However, with vigilance, innovation and proactive collaboration, we can avoid their worst impacts – and prevent them from becoming global health crises.