COVID Risks Have ‘Dramatically Reduced,’ But Another Pandemic Is Coming, Says Bill Gates

Bill Gates stated on Friday that while the dangers of severe infection from Covid-19 had been “dramatically reduced,” another pandemic is almost unavoidable.

Gates, co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, stated at Germany’s annual Munich Security Conference that a new unknown pandemic would most likely be caused by a disease other than the coronavirus family.

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However, he said that developments in medical technology should help the globe tackle it more effectively if investments are made now.

“We’ll have another pandemic. It will be a different pathogen next time,” Gates said.

Gates stated that two years into the coronavirus outbreak, the worst impacts had receded as vast swaths of the world population have obtained some kind of immunity. Its severity has also decreased with the omicron variant.

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However, Gates stated that this was due to the virus itself in many regions, which builds immunity and has “done a better job of spreading to the world population than we have with vaccines.”

“The chance of severe disease, which is mainly associated with being elderly and having obesity or diabetes, those risks are now dramatically reduced because of that infection exposure,” he said.

According to Gates, it is now “too late” to meet the World Health Organization’s target of vaccinating 70% of the world population by mid-2022. At the moment, 61.9 percent of the world’s population has gotten at least one dose of the Covid-19 vaccination.

He went on to say that the world should act quickly to develop and distribute vaccinations. Moreover, he urged countries to invest immediately.

“Next time, instead of two years, we should try to make it in six months,” Gates remarked, noting that standardized platforms, such as messenger RNA (mRNA) technology, will make this possible.

“The cost of being ready for the next pandemic is not that large. It’s not like climate change. If we’re rational, yes, the next time, we’ll catch it early.”

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The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, in collaboration with the Wellcome Trust in the United Kingdom, has donated $300 million to the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations, which helped develop the Covax initiative to supply vaccinations to low- and middle-income countries.

The CEPI hopes to fund $3.5 billion to reduce its time to develop a new vaccine to 100 days.

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