“There may be a virus that people feel good enough with while infected to get on a plane or go to the supermarket and that would spread it around the world very quickly.” This was the prediction that augured Bill Gates, the founder of Microsoft, in 2015. Half a decade later, the omen of the world’s second richest man makes sense.
The American billionaire business magnate, computer scientist and philanthropist, He referred this Tuesday, among other things, to the day on which he realized that the coronavirus pandemic was going to be really serious, to the difficulties we will face after the arrival of a vaccine and to what governments may have done and did not do to slow the spread of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, in the STAT 2020 Summit, where the highest referents of the American health system speak and seek a solution to the current coronavirus crisis.
During the meeting in which he participated Infobae, Gates, what has become an emblem of the fight against coronavirus and has donated millions of dollars in the development of a cure, he indicated that Although in his predictions he underestimated that society would try to close many things to reduce the spread and not allow the numbers of deaths and infections to be so high, “we were not so smart in diagnosing respiratory viruses and understanding what activities caused their spread.”
“Time was on our side, but we didn’t use it as we should. If we had been lucky and the pandemic had arrived five years later, we would not be so disappointed to have ruined everything. Deaths are what people talk about the most, but education, mental health and what we have done with government deficits will affect us in time. It is not a world war but without a doubt it is in that league ”, assured.
For decades, the mogul warned about the need to be prepared for a pandemic. Now that it’s here I wish there had been more time to be ready to meet your challenges. “If this pandemic had come five years later, the mRNA platform used by the most promising vaccines would have been even more mature, our ability to produce antibodies faster would have been clear, the diagnostic scale as well, even eventually the flow tests. side that we have today would have even greater sensitivity. A lot of good things are coming, but sadly this hit us now ”.
Despite an inspiring effort by biopharmaceutical companies to produce promising vaccine candidates with high protective measures, Gates fears a “dysfunctional” approach to distribution.
Developing seemingly effective vaccines so quickly, especially exploiting a novel approach that uses the technology of Messenger RNA to instruct cells to produce viral proteins and trigger an immune response, has been “Fantastic”, he said in dialogue with Rick Berke, co-founder and executive editor of STAT. Despite concerns about the speed with which companies moved to get where they got under perceived political pressure, he argued that they developed a vaccine “without skipping steps along the way.”
But the specialist stated be concerned about the logistics of vaccine distribution, which he says has been left to the states without adequate federal guidance to lead the way. Specifically about the lack of guidelines as to who should get the vaccine, whether or not to follow up on its two doses, make sure the vaccine does not expire due to the need to keep it so cold, and monitor people’s status. “I am concerned that the distribution of vaccines does not reach the right people,” he acknowledged.
However, you are less concerned about whether people will want to get vaccinated. “There are always doubts about vaccines. There are doubts on the left and doubts on the right, ”he said, adding: “Hopefully it doesn’t turn into something like wearing a mask, where one party thinks it’s a sign of surrender or lack of freedom.”
Gates said has been in regular contact with Anthony Fauci, America’s leading infectious disease expert, throughout the epidemic. In addition to their focus on infectious diseases, both specialists share be the target of criticism and even conspiracy theories about their work.
In February of this year, When it became clear that the epidemic would come out of China and go global, Gates did not foresee that the United States, with its resources and knowledge, would be so affected. “Of course, at that time, we would not have thought that the United States would be the main country to suffer.”
To the co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, The Trump administration has been wrong in two other important and damaging ways. First, federal officials failed diagnoses early in the pandemic and then the White House drowned out public health voices at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) They could have delivered the information people needed to stop the spread of the virus.
“Really I think the CDC was not allowed to do their job. Right now, things are a bit confusing. I just don’t see what I would like to see for a well managed deployment. Who is in charge? ”, He expressed by way of criticism.
In contrast, Gates praised the COVID-19 advisers chosen by President-elect Joe Biden. “He’s appointed a really strong group of people and we’ve worked with a lot of them, you know, in the global health community. He’s going to exaggerate listening to science, which is a wonderful thing. “
Two years ago, long before COVID-19 was on the radar from no one, Gates said in an interview with STAT that he had urged President Trump to invest in technologies to respond to a pandemic. “My conversations with Trump were at the beginning of his administration, where I said that it was essential that we invest in vaccines, both for the pandemic and for HIV and other things that he had the opportunity to lead,” he recalled. “It wasn’t exactly the direction I was hoping for.”
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