In an odd collision of worlds, TikTok has donated nearly $3 million in funding to one of Australia’s foremost coronavirus research institutes, The Doherty Institute.
TikTok has announced it’s giving the Peter Doherty Institute for Infection and Immunity (Doherty Institute) — a joint initiative between University of Melbourne and the Royal Melbourne Hospital — $US2 million in research funding.
The Doherty Institute is responsible for some of Australia’s major breakthroughs with coronavirus since the initial outbreak, including replicating the virus in a laboratory for the first time outside of China back in January. It’s also responsible for providing the infection rate modelling the federal government has been basing its restrictions and social distancing policy on.
The large donation coincides with TikTok’s launch of a local office in Australia. The new Sydney office will focus on growing the brand further as well as implementing safety policies and resources.
TikTok’s donation forms a part of a $US250 million campaign by the social media giant to “support front line medical workers, educators, and local communities deeply affected by the global crisis”.
Professor Sharon Lewin, Director of the Doherty Institute, said the funding would help the institute deal perform clinical trials for COVID-19 as well as other viruses that might rear up in the future.
“Our work on COVID-19 ranges from diagnostics, to clinical trials to test potential treatments, the creation of a vaccine and mathematical modelling to guide the public health response,” Professor Lewin said in the announcement.
TikTok creators use humour to spread important messages
Professor Lewin also acknowledged how integral TikTok creators were in spreading messaging about good personal hygiene as well as social distancing. Recognising the role of social media, it plans to release a number of TikTok videos under its #scienceathome campaign to communicate scientific theories in an accessible way.
“We’ve been extremely impressed by the ingenuity of TikTok users to create content that promotes hand washing, social distancing and the role of healthcare workers during the pandemic, and we’re excited to see the community’s creativity in celebrating science through #scienceathome,” Professor Lewin said.