Bill Gates, philanthropist, and founder of Microsoft urged the United States to take a more global approach to the coronavirus pandemic.
He said that although the country leads the research, “we only take care of ourselves” in the production and purchase of a vaccine.
Gates said he encouraged US congressmen to consider adding $ 8 billion to the debated economic relief bill, which would be aimed at helping less developed countries acquire a possible vaccine to prevent the spread of Covid-19.
The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has pledged more than $ 350 million for Covid-19 research. Much of this money has been earmarked for financing not only research but also the manufacturing capacity that will help distribute a vaccine globally.
In particular, according to Gates, he financed the development of vaccines by AstraZeneca, Johnson & Johnson, and Novavax, which on Tuesday released promising data from initial trials.
According to Gates, these vaccines have the greatest potential for scale and low cost.
There are more than 100 vaccines under development worldwide, with more than two dozen in human clinical trials. With the evidence that vaccines are the best way to control the pandemic and allow countries to reopen their economies completely, nations have started a race to access supplies.
Like many others, Gates is concerned with “vaccine nationalism”, in which a country prioritizes the production and storage of vaccines for national use. Its foundation has invested in a complete portfolio of possible therapies and vaccines against Covid-19, including a vaccine under development in South Korea.
Gates believes that a vaccine should be approved by the beginning of 2021, although this may be an interim solution, available mainly to wealthier countries. More effective vaccines, said Gates, may take longer to develop.
“The initial vaccine, in terms of effectiveness against disease and transmission, will not be ideal and may not last long,” he said.
At the same time, Gates said he was optimistic that many therapies under development to treat the virus could help significantly reduce the death rate.
“Innovation in diagnostics, therapies, and vaccines will get us out of this by the end of 2021,” said Gates. “The real end will come when, between natural infection and a vaccine, we have herd immunity.”