Efforts to eliminate polio have nearly succeeded. Above, a medical worker administers polio drops to an infant in Agartala, India, Jan. 18, 2015. Jayanta Dey/Reuters

Facebook co-founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg isn’t the only billionaire trying to eradicate diseases. Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates, former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Bridgewater Associates Chairman Ray Dalio also have ponied up big bucks to eliminate such scourges as polio. Berkshire Hathaway genius Warren Buffett has donated billions.

Zuckerberg and his wife, Chan, established a billion-dollar philanthropy organization in 2015 to "cure, prevent or manage all disease" by 2100 and has hired 47 scientists to begin researching and designing long-term strategies. Now the medical component, Biohub, has been funded with $50 million.

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, which was founded in 2000 and is the largest transparently operated privately funded foundation in the world, launched the Global Health Investment Fund in 2013 with $108 million to develop drugs, vaccines, diagnostics and “other interventions against diseases that disproportionately burden low- and middle-income countries.” Among the foundation’s partners are JPMorgan Chase & Co., GlaxoSmithKline, Merck and the Pfizer Foundation.

Gates also invited fellow billionaires Bloomberg and Dalio last year to aid in the fight to eradicate polio, raising an additional $70 million for the effort. The World Health Organization reported 42 new cases of the paralytic disease last year and one new case so far this year, mostly concentrated in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Nigeria where terrorist groups have made vaccination efforts dangerous. Polio no longer is a problem in the Americas, Europe or Australia but before the vaccine was introduced in 1955, the United States reported 10,000 to nearly 29,000 cases annually.

The Gates Foundation also is active in the fight against malaria, a major killer of children. Nearly half the world’s population is at risk of the disease, with 212 million cases reported in 2015 and an estimated 429,000 deaths. Since 2019, malaria rates have fallen 29 percent.

Buffett donated $31 billion to the Gates Foundation in 2006, in hopes the money would be used to fight AIDS. Approximately 78 million people worldwide, 1.1 million in the U.S., are infected with HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, with 2 million new cases reported in 2014. The scourge started in the last 1970s and by the end of 1985, there was at least one case in every region of the world.

Genentech CEO and Apple Chairman Arthur D. Levinson heads up Calico, which uses Google’s cloud and data centers to mine data on disease and aging. Google CEO Larry Page has indicated the project’s aim is to extend human life by as much as 100 years.

Among the other diseases, the Gates Foundation has targeted are enteric and diarrheal diseases, neglected tropical diseases, pneumonia and tuberculosis.