Billionaire Bill Gates is focused on working against climate change. However, it does not cease in its commitment to the fight with the Covid-19 pandemic and possible pandemics that may be caused by man, through a bioterrorist attack. So, I alert you in a conversation with former UK health secretary Jeremy Hunt for the Policy Exchange think tank.
In that public event, the billionaire recalled that “there are epidemics caused naturally and epidemics caused by bioterrorism that could even be much worse than what we experience today.” For this reason, he understands that greater sums of money must be invested in science and medicine to be prepared for the next pandemics: “Next year will be where these assignments will have to be made, including this global working group against the pandemic.”
Despite the fact that investment in science and medicine is not always attractive, Bill Gates hopes that the million-dollar losses that Covid-19 has produced will serve as an engine of change for that investment to take place in the coming years. “I think it will find fertile ground because, you know, we lost trillions of dollars and millions of lives. And citizens hope that their governments will not allow that to happen again.”
How to prevent the next pandemic according to Bill Gates
- Investment in science: the billionaire explains that to avoid a repeat of the difficulties of this last year, it is necessary to double investments in R&D and organizations such as the Coalition for Innovations in Preparedness for Epidemics (CEPI) that have proven to be invaluable with Covid-19. “We also need to develop completely new capabilities that do not yet exist,” he adds. Here it should be remembered that Bill Gates urged a few months ago that more be invested in medical research to get out before this crisis and those that may come. Thus, the millionaire was one of the first to donate 100 million dollars to get a vaccine against Covid-19.
- Rich countries must pay: This support for scientific funding must “come from rich countries,” explains Gates, as pandemics are global. In addition, he reasons that this investment is the best and most profitable insurance policy: “The world needs to spend billions to save billions (and prevent millions of deaths),” he says.
- Monitor for pathogens: This investment in scientific research should be combined, Gates writes, in an increase in testing systems that constantly monitor for troublesome pathogens and that can be activated as soon as they are needed. In addition, disease outbreaks must be detected as soon as they occur.
- Convene More Pandemic Simulations – In preparation for the next pandemic, the billionaire also invites more pandemic drills. In fact, he participated in the so-called ‘Event 201’, a simulation carried out in 2019 where a pandemic was ravaging the planet. According to the co-founder, these types of drills allow “to practice, analyze and improve the way we respond to disease outbreaks, just as war games allow the military to prepare for war in real life.”
Hope in new RNA vaccines
One vision for hope for Bill Gates is the development of mRNA vaccines for Covid-19, which the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has been funding for years. They are a new type of vaccine that deliver instructions to teach your body to fight a pathogen. “Although our foundation has been funding research for this new platform since 2014, no mRNA vaccine had been approved for use before last month. This pandemic accelerated the platform development process,” he explains.
In fact, the millionaire goes further and predicts that mRNA vaccines will develop faster, be easier to scale, and more stable to store for the next five to ten years. “That would be a breakthrough, both for future pandemics and other global health challenges. MRNA vaccines are a promising platform for diseases such as HIV, tuberculosis and malaria,” he says.