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Coronavirus pandemic | Google commits $800 million to combat the spread of COVID-19

Part of that pledge includes donating up to 3 million face masks.

March 30, 2020 / 06:37 PM IST
Sundar Pichai, CEO of Alphabet and Google | “Sundar Pichai’s uniquely American story—emigrating from India as a young adult and working his way to become CEO of a $1 trillion corporation—represents the best of what we aspire for our society.,” writes JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon. (Image: Reuters)

Sundar Pichai, CEO of Alphabet and Google | “Sundar Pichai’s uniquely American story—emigrating from India as a young adult and working his way to become CEO of a $1 trillion corporation—represents the best of what we aspire for our society.,” writes JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon. (Image: Reuters)

Google recently joined the fight against the coronavirus pandemic, pledging over USD 800 million to helps NGOs, small and medium businesses (SMBs), health workers and government agencies, most of it in the form of free advertising.

In a blog post, Google and Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai announced that the company is working with Magid Glove & Safety to ramp up production of masks which will be provided to the CDC Foundation. The post also detailed Google’s efforts to donate both cash and ad support as part of its coronavirus response.

The Mountain View-based search giant has committed to giving the World Health Organization (WHO) and government agencies across the globe a total of USD 250 million in ad grants, up from $25 million that it announced a few weeks ago. The ad grants will be used to share information on how to limit the spread of COVID-19.

Apart from the USD 250 million grant, here is how the rest of the $800 million-plus relief fund will be distributed.

USD 20 million will be provided in ad credits to NGOs and community financial institutions to run announcements on relief funds. Google will also offer USD 340 million worth of Google Ads credits for SMBs whose accounts have been active over the past year. The company also committed a USD 200 million investment fund for financial institutions to help SMBs and NGOs. Lastly, USD 20 million worth of Google Cloud credits will be provided for researchers and academic institutions finding ways to combat COVID-19.

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COVID-19 Vaccine

Frequently Asked Questions

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How does a vaccine work?

A vaccine works by mimicking a natural infection. A vaccine not only induces immune response to protect people from any future COVID-19 infection, but also helps quickly build herd immunity to put an end to the pandemic. Herd immunity occurs when a sufficient percentage of a population becomes immune to a disease, making the spread of disease from person to person unlikely. The good news is that SARS-CoV-2 virus has been fairly stable, which increases the viability of a vaccine.

How many types of vaccines are there?

There are broadly four types of vaccine — one, a vaccine based on the whole virus (this could be either inactivated, or an attenuated [weakened] virus vaccine); two, a non-replicating viral vector vaccine that uses a benign virus as vector that carries the antigen of SARS-CoV; three, nucleic-acid vaccines that have genetic material like DNA and RNA of antigens like spike protein given to a person, helping human cells decode genetic material and produce the vaccine; and four, protein subunit vaccine wherein the recombinant proteins of SARS-COV-2 along with an adjuvant (booster) is given as a vaccine.

What does it take to develop a vaccine of this kind?

Vaccine development is a long, complex process. Unlike drugs that are given to people with a diseased, vaccines are given to healthy people and also vulnerable sections such as children, pregnant women and the elderly. So rigorous tests are compulsory. History says that the fastest time it took to develop a vaccine is five years, but it usually takes double or sometimes triple that time.

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Google will also provide direct financial support and expertise to “help increase the production capacity for personal protective equipment (PPE) and lifesaving medical devices”.

The blog post details the other steps company is taking to fight the spread of COVID-19 and provide relief to people and businesses.
Carlsen Martin
first published: Mar 30, 2020 06:36 pm

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