'Mark Zuckerberg will fail in his disease crusade - he can't beat nature'

Mark Zuckerberg donation: 'There will always be new diseases', says biologist

Mark Zuckerberg

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Mark Zuckerberg's aim to combat and destroy all the world's illnesses is doomed to fail because "there are always going to be new human illnesses which will be among the worst."

This is according to evolutionary biologist Simon Watt, in response to the Facebook founder's announcement that he and his wife Priscilla will be donating three billion dollars to research via their organisation, the Chan Zuckerberg initiative, with the aim of ridding the world of disease.

While Watt insisted the money will make a difference, the simple laws of nature make the goal unattainable.

"This is tremendous, and Zuckerberg's desire to help research is utterly admirable here," he told Julia Hartley-Brewer. "This research will make a dent, and the money will hopefully save millions upon millions of lives by helping to develop new vaccination programmes, finding new ways of improving existing techniques, etc.

"But as an evolutionary biologist, I study how stuff changes - all animals change, plants change, and bacteria change. There are viruses which can leap from one species to our own.

"No matter how good we get at treating diseases, there are always going to be new human illnesses which will be among the worst.

"It really isn't possible to prevent or cure everything."