Tesla CEO Elon Musk has continued a tradition of giving back to Boston researchers who plan to build a COVID-19 vaccine and diagnostic tool with a $5 million donation.
The Musk Foundation’s contribution was to Dr. Dan Barouch, Director of the Center for Virology and Vaccine Research at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. Barouch is also a graduate of the Technology Institute of Massachusetts and Harvard University. Additionally, the donation was also received by Galit Alter, a Ragon Institute Professor of Medicine.
In the battle against the pandemic, the two researchers have made some major strides. Dr. Barouch has developed Johnson & Johnson’s COVID-19 vaccine and is currently in a late-stage clinical trial. Alter has developed COVID antibody screening tests that suggest exposure to the virus. The Boston Globe reports that one is being used by Musk’s SpaceX to prevent the spread of the virus.
The donation of $5 million will be shared evenly between Barouch and Alter’s labs. “We’re delighted that he has provided this generous support for our program,” Dr. Barouch said of the donation.
There were some discussions Musk had with both physicians. Alter said that Musk was always “polarizing” to her, but conversations showed that the Tesla CEO is caring as he opened up plenty of dialogue on how COVID can be attacked with vaccines. Barouch agreed and was impressed by Musk’s ability to learn about vaccination and how to make the planet a safer place to combat the virus. “[Elon] has always been very open to the emerging science,” Barouch said.
It is not the first time Musk has donated some of his considerable net worth. Musk has used his money over the past few weeks to donate to the growth of other projects, including the Khan Academy and the #BarstoolFund from Barstool, which aims to support small businesses to survive the pandemic. In January 2021, Musk, a humanitarian whose goal was to save the Planet from dependence on fossil fuels, obtained the “World’s Richest Person” title. Money was obviously never a problem for Musk. He has spent the last several weeks giving back to various charitable causes and research facilities to expedite small business survival and COVID-19 prevention.
In the battle against COVID-19, Musk was one of the early proponents. The CEO provided ventilators to any hospital that could show it needed machines for breathing assistance and had them delivered to those within the delivery regions of Tesla. Tesla even made an effort to build its own ventilators with car parts, but the project was never completed, and it is unclear if the automaker will ever attempt to release a version of the breathing apparatus.
As the pandemic keeps heating up, Musk’s humanitarian efforts continue. In the United States alone, 400,000 deaths have been registered, and vaccines and other steps have been taken to prevent the spread of the virus. However, in the battle against the coronavirus, the advancement of new technology is emerging, and Musk’s donation could help Boston doctors discover the true cure for the disease.
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