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Jack Ma donates $21.4 million to coronavirus vaccine research

A number of billionaires have donated millions to finding a solution to coronavirus. (Source: Getty)

E-commerce giant Alibaba's co-founder and China’s second-richest man Jack Ma has donated 100 million Chinese yuan (AU$21.35 million) through his eponymous foundation to assist in vaccine development efforts for the Wuhan coronavirus.

CNN Business reported that the tech mogul will set aside 40 million yuan for two Chinese government research organisations, with the rest of the funds going to “prevention and treatment” measures.

The donation comes after Alibaba announced on Saturday that it would set up a 1 billion yuan (AU$213.6 million) fund for medical supplies to Wuhan and the Hebei province.

Coronavirus, which emerged from Wuhan, has to date killed more than 130 people and spread to 18 countries with over 6,000 confirmed cases.

There is currently no known vaccine for the virus, but according to Vice, there are more than six organisations around the globe are racing against time to develop one, including a team in the University of Queensland.

The Australian researchers were the first to grow the virus in a lab outside of China, which will assist in accurate investigation and diagnosis of the virus.

Dr Mike Catton (R) and Dr Julian Druce (L) speak at the Doherty Institute in Melbourne on January 29, 2020. (Photo by WILLIAM WEST/AFP via Getty Images)

“Having the real virus means we now have the ability to actually validate and verify all test methods, and compare their sensitivities and specificities,” said Royal Melbourne Hospital doctor and Doherty Institute virus identification laboratory head Julian Druce.

“It will be a game changer for diagnosis.”

At the moment, there are seven confirmed cases in Australia: four in NSW, two in Victoria and one in Queensland.

Other billionaires give millions to fight coronavirus

Jack Ma is not the only one to spend big on a solution for coronavirus.

Melinda and Bill Gates have donated US$10 million (AU$14.82 million) to help first responders in China and Africa, while Chinese companies Baidu, Tencent Huawei and ByteDance have together pitched in 800 million yuan (AU$170.88 million) to research new treatments and assist authorities in affected areas, Forbes reported. Tencent Huawei’s contribution will go to Wuhan’s new Huoshenshan Hospital.

The world’s third-richest man, LVMH boss and French billionaire Bernard Arnault, will donate AU$3.41 million.

Apple chief Tim Cook tweeted that the tech giant would also make a donation, and Microsoft, Dell, L’Oreal and Cargill have together donated about 10 million yuan (AU$2.14 million) to the Chinese Red Cross.

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