Speed Reads

Solving COVID

Chan Zuckerberg Initiative donates $13.6 million to coronavirus antibody testing in San Francisco

Mark Zuckerberg and Priscilla Chan's charitable organization is dedicating $13.6 million to figure out how COVID-19 is spreading around San Francisco and when it'll be safe to reopen.

The Facebook founder and his wife, a pediatrician, set up the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative in 2015, dedicating the company to curing, preventing, and managing disease worldwide. The initiative established the Chan Zuckerberg Biohub, and it, along with Stanford University and the University of California, San Francisco, will conduct two antibody studies using the new funding, Zuckerberg announced Wednesday.

The first of the two studies will enroll 4,000 Bay Area residents into a program where they'll be tested monthly for both COVID-19 and antibodies that indicate they've had the disease in the past. It'll run from April to December and examine where new coronavirus cases are coming from, and ultimately aims to inform a safe reopening of the area.

The second study will enroll 3,500 frontline health care workers in a weekly antibody testing program to determine how quickly nurses and doctors get infected. It'll also look to see if the antibodies workers develop after recovery keep them from contracting the disease again, and if so, for how long.

Both studies are meant to learn more about how the virus is traveling in the Bay Area, but they could have worldwide implications by figuring out just how the virus spreads and if its antibodies can protect people from further infection.