Bill Gates Calls On Wealthy Nations To Invest Billions To Prevent Next Pandemic
Bill Gates has said that the world needs to take preventing future pandemics ‘as seriously as we take the threat of war’.
In an annual letter from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the Microsoft co-founder has called for the world’s wealthiest nations to invest billions in creating a global pandemic preparedness system.
According to Gates, huge amounts of money need to be spent on scientific research, mass testing, alert systems and an international team of ‘infectious disease first responders’ capable of raising the alarm about new diseases and containing outbreaks before they can spread.
In the years leading up to the Covid-19 pandemic, Gates, whose foundation focuses on advancing global health, repeatedly warned that the greatest threat facing the world was from the spread of deadly viruses.
In a 2015 Ted Talk, he warned that the international community was vastly underprepared for a large-scale outbreak, saying that ‘if anything kills over 10 million people in the next few decades, it’s most likely to be a highly infectious virus rather than a war’.
Those words proved disturbingly accurate, and now Gates wants to make sure the world doesn’t repeat the same mistakes that led to Covid-19 essentially causing a global shutdown for most of the past year. Writing in the Gates Foundation letter, the fourth-richest person on the planet outlined a series of steps that should be taken by the international community, urging that ‘to prevent the hardship of this last year from happening again, pandemic preparedness must be taken as seriously as we take the threat of war’.
Gates suggests that governments and pharmaceutical companies should ‘double down on investments in R&D’ to develop new vaccines and treatments, and should also work to create ‘mega-diagnostic platforms’ capable of testing as much as 20% of the global population – that’s more than 1.5 billion people – every week.
He has also called for the establishment of a 3,000-strong team to be sent to areas experiencing virus outbreaks, who he also envisions spending their time running ‘simulations’ designed to ‘improve how we respond to disease outbreaks, just as war games let the military prepare for real‐life warfare’.
The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has helped to fund the development of several vaccines and treatments, including the Moderna and AstraZeneca vaccines. Despite his work over the past year, Gates’ outspokenness during the course of this pandemic has led to him has being the subject of a number of conspiracy theories, which he has described as ‘crazy and evil’.
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