More than a year after the start of the coronavirus pandemic, with almost 106 million cases and more than 2 million deaths across the planet, what Bill Gates has to say is important. Is that if there is something that the coronavirus taught us, it is that it would be good to hear it.
In 2015, when the founder of Microsoft took the stage of the Ted Talks in Vancouver and said: “If something kills more than 10 million people in the next decades it is likely to be a highly infectious virus rather than a war.” They treated it as exaggerated.
Now, with the coronavirus collapsing the planet, his reflections make more sense.
In his latest forecast, during an interview with science popularizer Derek Muller on his Veritasium YouTube channel, Gates warned of two serious threats that coexist with the current pandemic … and will unfortunately survive it: climate change and bioterrorism.
“What is the next disaster? What are we not ready for? ”Muller asked. “One is climate change,” he said calmly but without hesitation, and warned: “Every year there will be a death toll even higher than the one we have had in this pandemic.”
The other danger, “something that people don’t like to talk about a lot”, is bioterrorism. “That someone wants to cause harm by designing a virus means the possibility of encountering a higher cost than natural epidemics like the current one.”
“My favorite writer, Vaclav Smil, wrote about all the potential types of disasters, like the risk of an asteroid, the risk of an eruption in Yellowstone (a volcano in the USA). And in fact he showed that pandemics were significantly the thing. bigger, aside from a man-made nuclear war, for which we needed to be more prepared, ”Gates said.
When Muller asked him for advice to avoid future crises like this one, the tycoon was not very optimistic: “Certainly there will be more pandemics. Because of the way humans interact with other species, these viruses cross the species barrier, be it from bats or monkeys … “
“Can’t you do anything?” Insisted the interviewer. “We could increase our preparedness so that we never have a death toll close to the current one.”
And he explained that the systems to put in place so that these types of situations (threats) can be nipped in the bud are divided into two sections. First, there are field activities and R&D (Research and development). “We need to mature mRNA vaccines so that we can make them even faster and have factories around the world that are cheap and thermally stable.”
In addition, he added that in the field of diagnostics, the capacity to perform 10 million PCR tests per day must be achieved. “Then in terms of the field, we need a lot of diagnostic machines around the world. So the investments are more or less equal between the R&D and the field group and the information that must flow constantly ”.
Gates also addressed all rumors or conspiracy theories about his alleged interests in the vaccine and how he is constantly attacked on social media. One of the most recurrent demands is to know exactly the “code” of vaccines to prove that it does not try to spread the disease instead of stopping.
“Manufacturing a safe vaccine is more complicated than, for example, manufacturing an engine, and people are very picky about vaccines, in fact, you could ruin the reputation of vaccines if you make them in factories where the control of Quality at every stage is not perfect, so we have made sure that the AstraZeneca vaccine is made in these big Indian factories and there are no royalties for that, free of charge, ”he explained about the funding provided by the Gates Foundation. And he sentenced: “Those who do not get involved, no one criticizes.”
In any case, he said that criticism does not affect him so much. “I’m not in a position to complain too much, I have a lot of things that make me extremely lucky and I hope these conspiracy theories go away.”
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