Microsoft co-founder and co-chair of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation Bill Gates recently spoke to the host of the Daily Show Tervor Noah, where he addressed the conspiracy theories surround a TED Talk that was delivered last year.
During the talk, Gates had warned governments to be ready in case of a pandemic. He had made a similar warning a few years earlier, where he said that the world was not ready to tackle a pandemic.
Of course, conspiracy theorists suggested that Gates knew about the novel coronavirus, COVID-19 pandemic all along, with some even suggesting that he invented the virus and spread it.
“The goal of the talk was to encourage governments to invest funds to tackle a global pandemic,” Gates told Noah.
Gates added the pandemic could have happened earlier, but viruses like the Ebola virus, Zika virus, and earlier variants of the coronavirus such as SARS did not transmit easily.
Bill Gates certainly knows a thing or two about communicable diseases. Ever since he and his wife Melinda started the Gates Foundation, their work was focused on improving public health systems across the world. Gates even wrote a blog in 2015, asking if the world was ready to deal with a pandemic. With the World Health Organisation terming the spread of coronavirus as a pandemic, Bill Gates conducted a session on , where people could ask him anything. Most of the questions were on how one could contain COVID-19.
One of the biggest concerns of course is the development of a vaccine, with every nation admitting that the development of a vaccine (including human trials) will take any time between a year and 18 months to be available in the market. “We will have to build lots of manufacturing for the different approaches knowing that some of them will not work. We will need literally billions of vaccines to protect the world. Vaccines require testing to make sure they are safe and effective. Some vaccines like the flu don't work for the elderly. The first vaccines we get will go to health care workers and critical workers. This could happen before 18 months if everything goes well but we are being careful not to promise this when we are not sure. The work is going at full speed,” he said.
Interestingly, in 2015, Gates had categorically said that we weren’t ready to tackle a pandemic. During this time, the Ebola outbreak had hit West Africa, killing over 10,000 people. : s awful as this epidemic has been, the next one could be much worse. The world is simply not prepared to deal with a disease—an especially virulent flu, for example—that infects large numbers of people very quickly. Of all the things that could kill 10 million people or more, by far the most likely is an epidemic,” he had written then.