The billionaire founder of Microsoft, Bill Gates, said that the Corona virus gave humanity an opportunity to prepare for future pandemics, especially those that could destabilize society.
The amount of money needed to prepare for future pandemics is estimated at about $1 billion annually.
Speaking at the Time 100 summit last week, Gates called on the world to create a global team of nearly 3,000 infectious disease experts to help all countries improve their epidemiological responses and provide local scientists with a means to report outbreaks.
The mobilization was called the “Global Epidemic Response and Mobilization” team, which will be managed by the World Health Organization, according to Time magazine.
He said that one of the team’s main responsibilities would be to conduct outbreak drills and test the readiness of countries to respond to these epidemics.
Reportedly; Gates said the next pandemic could have a much higher death rate and could “wipe out humanity.”
He added, “The chance of a new pandemic occurring in the next twenty years, whether it is natural or intentional, in my opinion, is more than 50%.”
The idea of establishing the Global Epidemic Response Team, or GERM for short, was not new, as Gates put forward in his new book, “How to Prevent the Next Pandemic,” published in April.
“You can’t do much if you don’t act quickly. Epidemics is a global problem, and if one country doesn’t do its part in practicing detection and containment, that’s a problem for all other countries,” he said on Tuesday.
Gates added that GERM will take responsibility for 12 or more countries with limited capabilities.
Gates also referred to some of the actions that health experts have called for around the world since the outbreak of the Corona epidemic, including upgrading health technology such as vaccines and treatments, building health systems, and better monitoring of diseases around the world.
He estimated that all this would cost about $1 billion annually, but described this cost as small compared to the cost that a pandemic like the Corona virus could cause in the world.
“We have lost more than $14 trillion so far because of this pandemic,” he said.
Gates criticized the initial US response to the epidemic, and said that the Trump administration could have reduced deaths by imposing quarantine under medical supervision and control.