As the deadliest Ebola outbreak in history continues to rage in West Africa, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has stepped in to give $50 million in emergency funds. That’s the most money the foundation has ever donated in response to a health emergency, illustrating the severity of an outbreak that Oxford researchers say could emerge in 22 countries across Africa.
It’s also a rare move for the Microsoft founder who, with his wife, is trying to eradicate diseases that kill millions each year, like malaria. While the Ebola virus produces frightening symptoms and headlines, the death toll from the current epidemic is now hovering at around 2,300, according to the World Health Organization. What makes Ebola so frightening is the fact that there are no easy fixes: no vaccine, no cure, and no easy way to contain it—the disease might also be transmitted by bats and chimpanzees.