The billionaire philanthropist Bill Gates warned that the world must prepare for the next pandemic as if it were a war, including the investment of tens of billions of dollars each year, in a letter published Wednesday.
“We cannot allow ourselves to be taken by surprise again,” wrote the Microsoft co-founder and his wife Melinda in an annual letter.
“The threat of the next pandemic will always be hovering over our heads, unless the world takes steps to prevent it.”
To avoid future destruction of the proportions of that caused by COVID-19, “pandemic preparation must be taken as seriously as we take the threat of war,” Gates said.
“Stopping the next pandemic will require spending tens of billions of dollars per year, a large investment, but remember that the Covid-19 pandemic is expected to cost the world 28 trillion dollars,” he added.
“The world needs to spend billions to save billions (and avoid millions of deaths).”
The American, considered the third richest person in the world according to Forbes, urged rich countries to provide most of the investment, noting that their governments will benefit the most from it.
Investments in future diagnostics and vaccination technologies must be complemented by “a global alert system, which we do not have today on a large scale,” allowing epidemics to be detected and responded to quickly, the letter stated.
Gates already raised the alarm about the risk of global epidemics at a TED conference in 2015.
Now he advocates the creation of a team of some 3,000 fully trained professionals, a kind of pandemic “firefighters”, available and on permanent alert.
The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has already invested $ 1.75 billion to fight the new coronavirus pandemic, as well as to promote and finance vaccination projects in developing countries.