Microsoft joins Ebola fight by pledging cloud resources and vaccine discovery service

Microsoft has joined the fight against the Ebola outbreak by pledging free cloud computing and research applications to help medical researchers working to eradicate the deadly virus.

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CEO Satya Nadella used a presentation in San Francisco to announce that it is making the power of its Azure cloud computing service available to workers and that its tools are able to carry out vaccine discovery.

"One of the things tomorrow morning we're going to do is make available Azure computer power to the research community,” Nadella said, according to Reuters. "In addition we have some tools that Microsoft researchers built to be able to do vaccine discovery, so we want to take all of that and make it available for the research community.”

Microsoft’s research unit is also "soliciting cloud computing proposals for projects that are working towards developing a better understanding of the spread and cure of the Ebola virus." Further to this it will be awarding “allocations of Microsoft Azure compute and storage resources” to qualifying proposals from researchers that are linked to academic institutions.

Nadella’s company isn’t the only one in the IT and computing industry helping the fight against the virus and it comes just a matter of days after Facebook head honcho Mark Zuckerberg pledged $25 million [£15.6 million] to help stem its spread.

Zuckerberg’s donation is going towards the US Centre of Disease Control and Prevention and Microsoft cofounder and well known philanthropist Paul Allen has also donated $9 million [£5.6 million] to help fight the disease.

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Telecoms companies, such as Orange, are also involved in the effort to eradicate the disease through work with data scientists to track population movement in regions that have been affected by Ebola. It’s easy to do this as even in poor countries mobile phone ownership is high and the same system was used during the cholera outbreak that followed the Haiti earthquake back in 2010.