Billionaire Microsoft founder, Bill Gate has warned that future pandemics could be worse than the coronavirus pandemic.
Gates spoke of his worries as the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation donated $150 million (£110m) to the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovation (CEPI) on Wednesday, January 19.
CEPI are set to use the donations in the fight against coronavirus as well as in preparation for potential pandemics in the future, it was announced on Tuesday.
Speaking about the work done by CEPI, Gates said in a statement;
“As the world responds to the challenge of a rapidly evolving virus, the need to deliver new, lifesaving tools has never been more urgent.”
“Next time the world suffers pandemic it could be worse than coronavirus”
CEO of CEPI, Dr Richard Hatchet, said: “These generous pledges will dramatically advance CEPI’s plan to reduce epidemic and pandemic risk in the future by developing vaccines against emerging infectious diseases while ensuring equitable access for all.”
Gates added: “Our work over the past 20 years has taught us that early investment in research and development can save lives and prevent worst-case scenarios.”
The Bill & Melania Gates Foundation has pledged the $150 million to “Help CEPI accelerate the development of safe and effective vaccines against emerging variants of the coronavirus and to prepare for, and possibly even prevent, the next pandemic”.
Gates took the chance to urge governments to contribute in order to “prevent the spread of future pandemics, some of which could have the potential for a higher fatality rate than the coronavirus pandemic”
In a blog post on Wednesday, Gates explained a few things had gone wrong when it came to Covid, writing;
“Creating new vaccines isn’t enough. We also have to make sure that everyone who can benefit from vaccines has access to them, and that’s where the world has collectively failed in its response to COVID.
“While at least 9 billion doses were distributed in the past year, less than 1% went to people in low-income countries.
“We need to do better the next time the world faces a pathogen that has the potential to spark a pandemic”.