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Zuckerberg, Gates to help Kingdom in Covid-19 fight

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A couple wearing facemasks as protection against Covid-19 in front of the Royal Palace. AFP

Zuckerberg, Gates to help Kingdom in Covid-19 fight

Mark Zuckerberg’s Chan Zuckerberg Initiative (CZI) and the Bill Gates Foundation (BGF) are helping a group of small research institutions in Cambodia to fight against Covid-19, Business Insider reports.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said CZI, in partnership with BGF and Cambodian researchers, has helped unlock a piece of research which may help in the fight against the coronavirus.

“In partnership with BGF, researchers in Cambodia have been able to sequence the full genome of the virus that causes Covid-19, making it much easier and faster to identify if people have the virus.

“The team has created a new public version of the IDSeq tool so scientists everywhere can study the full genome, and it can be shared around the world,” Zuckerberg wrote.

The IDSeq tool is a pathogen-detection tool first unveiled by the CZI in 2018 in partnership BGF.

Sequencing the genome for the novel coronavirus allows researchers to study its origins, what other diseases it’s related to, and how it might be stopped.

The Cambodian researchers referred to in Zuckerberg’s post are not the only scientists to sequence the genome for Covid-19, with the first sequence being produced by Chinese researchers on January 10.

Zuckerberg also detailed what measures Facebook is taking to help stop the spread of the novel coronavirus, such as offering free advertising space to the World Health Organisation (WHO) and monitoring Covid-19 related misinformation.

He said: “Researchers are already using aggregated and anonymised Facebook data – including mobility data and population density maps – to better understand how the virus is spreading,” he wrote.

Ministry of Health spokeswoman Or Vandin could not be reached for comment on Thursday.

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