Polio could be wiped off the planet by 2018 if an organization called the Global Polio Eradication Initiative has its way.
And it was recently helped along big time by tech billionaire and Oracle CEO Larry Ellison.
Earlier this month, the Lawrence Ellison Foundation pledged $100 million toward the effort to eliminate polio, the Initiative said.
The donation will occur over five years and includes the $20 million he already donated in 2013.
In other words, he's pleased with the progress and is kicking in another $80 million.
The goal to end polio has made great progress. The number of new polio cases in Afghanistan and Nigeria were reduced by 65 and 57 percent, respectively, in 2013, and India celebrated three years polio-free this January, the Initiative says.
The group, however, is struggling to vaccinate children in some of the world's more unstable places, it said, like Northwest Pakistan, the war-torn regions in Africa, and Syria.
Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates has been heavily involved in the project. He gave Ellison a big shout out for his donation, praising him in a press release and a tweet. Gates tweeted:
Thanks to my friend Larry Ellison for giving 100 million more reasons we can eradicate polio: http://t.co/Rp8IpQAQJx— Bill Gates (@BillGates) February 12, 2014
What's interesting is that, back in the day, Gates and Ellison were not friends.
Both men are fierce competitors, and their companies, Microsoft and Oracle, compete in the enterprise software market. Back in 2000, when Gates was still running Microsoft and Microsoft was being investigated for antitrust violations, Ellison even hired private investigators to dig through Microsoft's trash.
"It's absolutely true we set out to expose Microsoft's covert activities," Ellison said at a press conference at the time. "I feel very good about what we did."
So looks like the two software moguls have buried the hatchet. And the world's children will certainly be the better off for it.
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