Bill Gates thinks future pandemic efforts must target Africa
Bill Gates thinks a new worldwide organization must be developed to combat future pandemic threats following the devastation of Covid-19.
The billionaire philanthropist and Microsoft founder said the continent must be the center of efforts to fight off the next terrible epidemic.
“50% of the danger of emergence comes from Africa, where people interact with animals. We saw it with HIV and Ebola. The flu and SARS-CoV-1 and SARS-CoV-2 are also Asian-born, so we must be ready for them to erupt wherever. We need to see it quickly,” said Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation co-chair Gates.
A full-time, salaried staff whose sole purpose is to prevent pandemics, Bill Gates proposes creating GERM (Global Epidemic Response and Mobilization) in his book. Experts in epidemiology, genetics, medication and vaccine research, data systems, diplomacy; fast response; logistics; computer modeling, and communications are needed to staff GERM. To monitor hazard levels, the team should be dispersed, with several members stationed at national public health institutions, he says.
Building the new team, which Gates argues should be controlled by WHO, might be the quickest and most efficient approach to tracking future pandemic risks, he added.
“While this is still fresh in our minds, I believe we should debate…we should build a system that works for both present and future threats,” Gates added.
“Germ is so inexpensive compared to the expense of this epidemic, it seems apparent to me that we should do it. But we don’t typically introduce global changes. The WHO has not had a substantial full-time pandemic team.”
An international team of researchers, data collectors, and analysts might help shed light on global health imbalances that cause pandemics, according to Bill Gates.
“There is no global government; we operate via UN agencies, including the WHO, and building new capability at that level requires time, funding, and management. For the research agenda, which will take 5-10 years to build global capacity…and for spotlighting global health inequities.
Only a global organization can ask all nations to participate in these exercises, publish the statistics, and then recognize that for some emerging countries, the global capacity must be increased.
Gates stated that the Covid-19 pandemic had taught important lessons, like the importance of good distribution channels over independent vaccine manufacturing capability.
According to the Gates Foundation, high-income nations should share at least 1 billion extra Covid-19 doses with low-income countries by 2021 to expedite global vaccination availability.
Gates stated that most vaccines that were predicted to fail ended up being “very good vaccines” for averting serious disease and death.
It was never expected that a new site would contribute to global vaccine availability during the pandemic since creating regulatory capacity in vaccine manufacturing takes a decade…
The vaccination supply is not limited. Its demand and logistics, are at least in some senses excellent. I’m not convinced every country should manufacture. There will be some intercontinental commerce, but we need stronger regulatory science and a better knowledge of new market opportunities.”
Gates also stated future pandemic prevention should prioritize diagnostics over vaccinations.
“I wouldn’t focus on immunizations. Diagnostics are considerably more crucial if you want to stop pandemics. Vaccines are only used when the epidemic spirals out of control.