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Bill Gates Says We Must Be Prepared For Future Pandemics

Bill Gates Says We Must Be Prepared For Future Pandemics

The Microsoft co-founder said 'we could be a lot smarter' in future

Claire Reid

Claire Reid

Bill Gates has warned the world needs to be better prepared for future pandemics.

In an interview with Sky News, the billionaire - who correctly predicted the greatest risk of 'global catastrophe' over the next few decades would be a highly infectious virus - said there were lessons that could be learnt about how things were handled and thinks we 'could be a lot smarter' in future.

He said: "Because we didn't practice, it's clear that understanding variants and understanding how quickly you can do the regulatory stuff, when this comes up again, we could be a lot smarter.


"People didn't invest enough in this risk... so I hope we keep in mind that we do need to invest and be ready for the next pandemic."

He went on to say that now the world must start to think of the future and not forget about the pandemic.

He added: "I'm very pleased that the UK is making pandemic preparedness, both finishing this pandemic and thinking through what happens next, a real priority.

"I'm worried that we'll forget about it. The Ebola epidemic was the time I thought people would be interested and I was out talking about what we needed to do.

"I do think because trillions were lost, that this generation will remember this."

Gates was warning people about the dangers of a deadly virus years back, saying it posed 'the biggest threat to humanity' back in a TED Talk in 2015.

Gates said: "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. Not missiles, but microbes."

He also stressed the importance of being prepared for such an incident, saying an airborne epidemic could be 'a serious problem'.


The Microsoft co-founder said: "Failure to prepare could allow the next epidemic to be dramatically more devastating than Ebola.

"Ebola does not spread through the air, and by the time you're contagious, most people are so sick that they're bedridden.

"You can have a virus where people feel well enough while they're infectious that they get on a plane, or they go to a market.

"This is a serious problem. We should be concerned."

Gates made the same point during a discussion about epidemics hosted by the Massachusetts Medical Society and the New England Journal of Medicine.

He said: "There's one area though where the world isn't making such progress, and that's pandemic preparedness."

Gates went on to say that when it came to biological threats the 'sense of urgency is lacking'.

Featured Image Credit: PA

Topics: Pandemic, US News, bill gates