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With the work carried out by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to get a vaccine developed, he’s also keen to ensure the world is prepared if a similar situation were to unfold in the future.
While Covid deaths and hospitalisation rates have fallen rapidly since the vaccine rollout, the billionaire says there’s a chance things could get even worse.
In a new interview with FT, Gates said: “We’re still at risk of this pandemic generating a variant that would be even more transmissive and even more fatal.
“It’s not likely, I don’t want to be a voice of doom and gloom, but it’s way above a 5 per cent risk that this pandemic, we haven’t even seen the worst of it.”
Gates is now calling for the development of longer-lasting vaccines while urging world leaders to put funding into preparing the world for future health threats.
According to statistics published by the World Health Organization (WHO), as of 29 April, 2022, there have been 510,270,667 confirmed cases of Covid-19, including 6,233,526 deaths.
The 58-year-old philanthropist explained that the cost of the WHO building and managing a team capable of preparing and preventing future pandemics would be around $1 billion a year.
He said that while this cost is ‘very small compared to the benefit’, it would be a test to see if such responsibilities could be taken on and implemented when US-China and US-Russia relations are tough.
But ultimately, Gates urged that we ‘must not lose sight of the health crisis’, adding: “It seems wild to me that we could fail to look at this tragedy and not, on behalf of the citizens of the world, make these investments.”
Even before the Covid outbreak, Gates and his ex-wife Melinda continued to accelerate the development of vaccines through their non-profit Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
To prevent future pandemics, @BillGates says we must invest in 3 things *now*:— TED Talks (@TEDTalks) April 22, 2022
1. Disease monitoring
2. Research and development
3. Health systems
Watch his full talk to learn more: https://t.co/NiVKDjAiln pic.twitter.com/bFlWq1v5gi
Earlier this year, the organisation donated $150 million (£110m) to the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovation (CEPI) in order to fight Covid and prepare for other potential outbreaks.
The Gates Foundation founded CEPI in 2017 alongside charitable foundation Wellcome and backing from Norway and India following the impact of the Ebola epidemic.
CEPI went on to build one of the world’s largest and most diverse portfolios of Covid-19 vaccine candidates, including six that continue to receive funding and three that were granted emergency use listing by the WHO.