Microsoft Co-founder, Bill Gates has told world leaders to prepare for the next major virus which will be man-made and more dangerous than COVID-19.
Speaking at the Lowy Institute think tank in Sydney, Bill Gates urged politicians to set aside their differences in order to prepare adequately for the next pandemic which according to him will be very catastrophic.
The tech billionaire called for greater global collaboration, citing the COVID-19 pandemic as an example of how countries could improve their response if they worked together.
During his lengthy chat with Lowy, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Co-founder said a stable international order based on mutual political will would be needed to deal with future pandemics. “Compare the economic cost of preparing for the next to the cost of this, over $10 trillion in economic loss.
“The only thing that is still hanging in the balance is whether we have the global capacity and at the regional and national level, which would mean that if there is a threat (from infectious diseases), we act in a way that does not make it global.
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“We need to have a comprehensive pandemic preparedness exercise every five years at both the national and regional levels, and you need a global group to assess every one.” Gates noted.
He likened the exercise to workplace fire drills to ensure everyone knows what to do in case of an emergency. “That’s definitely a best practice in the future,” He said.
The philanthropist admitted that no country got it ‘totally right’ when it came to handling the pandemic, but Australia certainly was at the top of the pile.
It would be recalled that, Bill Gates last year warned the world against lack of preparedness for a potential pandemic in the future.
According to him, as miserable as COVID-19 was, it is not the “Big One”. “It will be tempting to assume that the next major pathogen will be as transmissible and lethal as Covid, and as susceptible to innovations like mRNA vaccines. But what if it isn’t?” he wrote in his new book.
It’s a good question. Gates’s proposal, essentially, is that we should do more of what we’re doing already but better and faster. No one can say whether the next pandemic will be caused by a coronavirus, influenza or some pathogen we haven’t considered yet, but with better surveillance systems and laboratory diagnostics we should be able to rapidly identify the culprit and devise medical countermeasures before the outbreak has a chance to spiral out of control.
However, in his interview on Monday, he came clearer that the pandemic will be man-made.