Google Grants UNICEF $1.5 Million and Manpower to Combat Zika Virus

By Staff Writer

Mar 03, 2016 10:53 PM EST

Last month, World Health Organization declared Zika virus outbreak as a Public Health Emergency.  Even if the mosquito-borne virus causes no reason of symptoms in most cases, it has been connected to a rise in number of cases of microcephaly which is a fatal birth defect. Google collaborates with UNICEF and supplies funds, people and tools to battle the disease.

Google will donate UNICEF $1 million to help in their move to fight Zika virus.  The company has its own engineers assisting UNICEF analyzing data to detect how to map and expect the virus.  The tech giant will also give half million additional to UNICEF and the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) in support to the work of their own employees on the field.

The said funds will be used by UNICEF to increase awareness, lessen mosquito populations, helps vaccines development and support the prevention of virus transmission.  The organization anticipates 200 million affected or susceptible people in Latin America will get the help they needed, as reported by Mashable.

In order to map and expect the scattering of the virus, Google has assigned teams of designers, engineers and data scientists in analyzing data such as travel patterns and weather. The alarming outbreak has been associated to a neurological sickness called Guillain-Barre syndrome and birth defects, according to Online News Planet.

"Ultimately, the goal of this open source platform is to identify the risk of Zika transmission for different regions and help UNICEF, governments and NGO's decide how and where to focus their time and resources," director Jacquelline Fuller wrote in a blog post. "This set of tools is being prototyped for the Zika response, but will also be applicable to future emergencies."  

In addition to Google's effort to help fight Zika virus, it added 16 languages in order for people to get more information and understanding about the virus including overview and symptoms.  The company has noticed that information search for Zika virus has surged to 3,000% starting November of last year.  Being the owner of YouTube, Google has included creators in Latin America such as the Brazilian physician Drauzio Varella to increase awareness about the prevention of the Zika virus on their channels, as reported by USA Today.

With the $1 million grant from Google along with the additional $500,000, UNICEF will be equipped with the funds they needed together with the tools and manpower to combat the Zika virus that links to birth defects and neurological illness.  The said funds will be used to raise the community's awareness, development of vaccines and prevention of the disease.

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