Bill Gates believes that over the next year, medical researchers will be among the most important people in the world
Bill Gates, co-founder of Microsoft and co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, has shared his insight about present situation as well as the world after Covid-19 pandemic.
In an article published on The Economist, Bill Gates said that he believes humanity will beat it only when most of the population will be vaccinated.
"I believe that humanity will beat this pandemic, but only when most of the population is vaccinated. Until then, life will not return to normal. Even if governments lift shelter-in-place orders and businesses reopen their doors, humans have a natural aversion to exposing themselves to disease," he said.
Bill Gates believes that over the next year, medical researchers will be among the most important people in the world.
He hopes that, by the second half of 2021, facilities around the world will be manufacturing a vaccine and it will be a history-making achievement: the fastest humankind has ever gone from recognising a new disease to immunising against it.
"Again from this progress in vaccines, two other big medical breakthroughs will emerge from the pandemic. One will be in the field of diagnostics. The next time a novel virus crops up, people will probably be able to test for it at home in the same way they test for pregnancy," he said.
"Instead of peeing on a stick, though, they'll swab their nostrils. Researchers could have such a test ready within a few months of identifying a new disease", he added.
Bill Gates talks about a third breakthrough which will be in antiviral drugs. He thinks that these have been an underinvested branch of science. "We haven't been as effective at developing drugs to fight viruses as we have those to fight bacteria but that will change," he said.
He says researchers will develop large, diverse libraries of antivirals, which they'll be able to scan through and quickly find effective treatments for novel viruses. "All three technologies will prepare us for the next pandemic by allowing us to intervene early, when the number of cases is still very low. But the underlying research will also assist us in fighting existing infectious diseases—and even help advance cures for cancer."
Bill Gates thinks that our progress won't be in science alone. It will also be in our ability to make sure everyone benefits from that science. After covid-19, leaders will prepare institutions to prevent the next pandemic.
These will be a mix of national, regional and global organisations. He expects they will participate in regular "germ games" in the same way as armed forces take part in war games.
Keep it global
Bill Gates hopes wealthy nations include poorer ones in these preparations, especially by devoting more foreign aid to building up their primary health-care systems.
"Even the most self-interested person—or isolationist government—should agree with this by now. This pandemic has shown us that viruses don't obey border laws and that we are all connected biologically by a network of microscopic germs, whether we like it or not," he said.
"If a novel virus appears in a poor country, we want its doctors to have the ability to spot it and contain it as soon as possible," he added.
Bill Gates is the co-founder of Microsoft and co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. This is part of a series on the world after covid-19 which can be found at Economist.com/coronavirus