Bill Gates says the world will not be ready to face another pandemic for at least another five years.
Bill Gates, chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and co-founder of Microsoft, says that it will be somewhere between two to five years from now before the world goes back to where it was in terms of the economy. There are mental health issues and loss of education to deal with he says. Gates was in conversation with Anant Goenka, executive director, The Indian Express.
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Gates goes on to say that the pandemic is almost like a World War in terms of scale as many countries have seen their economies destroyed, even though the death toll may not be that high.
There are things like better diagnostic tools and R&D that still needs to be developed before the world is ready to face another pandemic, and that effort could take at least another five years.
Asked what lessons the world can take out from this pandemic, Gates says it has made governments look ahead to potential problems and how to deal with them. He also says it has brought global pharmaceutical majors together to jointly work on solving a problem, something that one would not see in a normal market, profit-seeking business.
Gates says the world’s highest volume vaccine developing factories are in India and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is working closely with these vaccine manufacturers in India, such as Serum Institute of India, which have already got global approvals. He says
mRNA vaccines from Moderna and Pfizer are difficult to scale up and are expensive, so for developing countries vaccines from Astra Zeneca, Johnson and Johnson and Novavax have better hope.
Talking about his philanthropy, Gates says that if you are a billionaire in a rich country it would be better to send most of your money outside to those who need it while spending a part within the country to reward efforts that have allowed you to be successful. If you are a billionaire in a developing country, like India, it would make sense to spend most of your money within the country to alleviate problems that the country has. Gates has committed to giving away 95 percent of his wealth.
Gates says there is huge potential for online learning and improving education after the pandemic. Human resources are the main requirement in all countries for this.
Speaking about missed opportunities over the past few years, Gates says that perhaps Microsoft should have built a better phone operating system.
In terms of potential from India, Gates says he sees a mix of humanity and bright people. He says if only more could be educated then all this human potential could be unleashed. Watch the full interview for more on what Bill Gates said.