04:08 GMT18 February 2020
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    BEIJING (Sputnik) - A foundation led by Alibaba founder Jack Ma has donated an additional 10 million yuan ($1.4 million) to a Chinese research group developing treatments for a deadly new strain of coronavirus, according to a statement posted on the WeChat platform on Friday.

    “The four-party agreement will support the activities of two separate projects, and for this purpose, academician Zhong Nanshan’s team will be given financial support amounting to 10 million yuan. The projects are aimed at accelerating the research and development of new drugs and technologies for clinical treatment,” the statement said.

    Alibaba Cloud will provide, at no cost, all the necessary cloud-based online services to help the group develop new treatments and study the coronavirus genome.

    “We are thoroughly convinced that thanks to the joint efforts of all parties, we will be able to achieve an important breakthrough in the research and development of new drugs and key clinical treatment technologies to combat the novel strain of coronavirus,” the statement read.

    The Chinese billionaire's pledge comes after a cooperation agreement was agreed on Thursday between the Jack Ma Foundation, the Guangzhou Institute of Respiratory Disease, Alibaba Cloud and Zhong Nanshan, who leads a government-appointed group working to control the spread of the outbreak.

    In late January, Ma’s foundation pledged 100 million yuan to support efforts to develop a vaccine to combat the new strain of coronavirus, named COVID-19 by the World Health Organization.

    A medical worker in protective suit moves a novel coronavirus patient in a wheelchair at a hospital in Wuhan
    © REUTERS / CHINA DAILY
    A medical worker in protective suit moves a novel coronavirus patient in a wheelchair at a hospital in Wuhan

    The new strain of coronavirus was first detected in the Chinese city of Wuhan, in Hubei province, in late December and has since spread to more than 20 other countries. So far, the virus has infected over 64,000 people worldwide, resulting in the deaths of over 1,380 people.

    On Thursday, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said at a press conference in Germany that Chinese efforts to contain the virus successfully prevented its global spread. The number of COVID-19 cases outside China is less than one per cent of the number of confirmed cases of infection in China.

    Topic:
    2020 Coronavirus Outbreak (157)
    Tags:
    vaccine, coronavirus, Jack Ma, Alibaba Group
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