Bill Gates warned the world of the risk of a pandemic in 2015
Bill Gates is currently funding the search for a vaccine for the new coronavirus. The world's second richest man said in 2015, "I rate the possibility of a generalized pandemic at more than 50 percent". Because of modern transportation ... in a matter of days it is basically in all urban centers around the world".
The Gates Foundation funds vaccines through programs like GAVI, which Gates established with a $ 750 million grant in 1999 and is estimated to have saved millions of lives. The Gates Foundation funds struggles against diseases such as malaria and polio, and in its first 20 years of existence, it has spent about $ 40 billion on global development and public health programs. When the pandemic that Gates long warned about came true, he began work on philanthropic initiatives to combat it.
In a February letter published in the New England Journal of Medicine, he urged the government to start a strong political response in the country and contribute to preparedness in lower-middle-income countries. In February he committed himself to the fight against COVID-19. He came up with a plan on how to make sure a situation like this doesn't happen again. On April 15, Gates committed an additional $ 150 million to conduct tests, treatments, and assist poor countries in their response to the new coronavirus.
The foundation also launched Covid-19 Therapeutics Accelerator to study the most effective treatments for the virus, with $ 125 million in seed funding. It has already shown some promising results. While most studies have explored treatments, some of the first accelerator-initiated studies have looked at prophylaxis - drug treatments that keep people from getting sick in the first place, likely for healthcare workers and people with similarly high risk.
"We don't expect to find a 100 percent effective solution right away", said Trevor Mundel, president of the Gates Foundation's Global Health program, noting that other viruses like HIV, as well as other lung infections like tuberculosis, have proven to be more sensitive to cocktails of various drugs.
"That's why the Accelerator is looking to identify a shortlist of approximately 50-100 FDA-approved medications, and then narrow this down to a few that could be expanded. And this will be seen first by trying to use individual drugs and then, of course. , combinations of those individual drugs". Therapeutics Accelerator is an international project, with contributions from Gates and many national governments.
To alleviate the delay in deployment between the time a vaccine is chosen and when it is actually available on the scale needed, Gates proposes to build seven factories for all leading vaccine candidates and build many of them. He estimates that this will cost billions. Although the foundation has not disclosed how much it will spend, a project of this magnitude will require other stakeholders, as do most of Gates' public health projects.