Bill Gates has been super vocal about how the United States has been handling the coronavirus pandemic. With more than 5 million confirmed cases in the U.S., the Microsoft co-founder has been making calls for the government and businessmen alike to ensure that everyone will have access to COVID-19 treatment and vaccine.
He was once the world's richest, he left his roles in the tech giant and shifted his passion and efforts to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation sending help and funding to various causes. In the on-going epidemic, Gates has donated more than $1 billion to vaccine research, where $100 million is allocated for coronavirus vaccine.
In 2015, Gates warned the public that war is not the world's worst calamity. He said in his TED talk that it would be a virus that we are not ready for.
Earlier this month, Gates spoke with WIRED editor Steven Levy about the country's coronavirus response, testing, and vaccine development and treatments. He also said that there were three instances when he warned that a pandemic will hit the world. Gates also noted that the coronavirus pandemic has caused an "economic hardship not seen in many generations" across the world.
He mentioned that while he is disappointed about how the government handles the health crisis, the government is doing well on testing and vaccines. Despite the economic damage, Gates is optimistic that rich nations could end the pandemic by the end of 2021 while pushing to alleviate it across the globe by 2022.
Which treatment does he prefer?
During the interview, Gates was asked on which treatment he would ask for in case he got infected with COVID-19. In a quick response, he said Remdesivir, although dexamethasone is a fairly cheap drug.
"I don't want special treatment," Bill noted if he will be hospitalized because of COVID-19. Since other treatments and vaccines would still require some months to produce, he believes it would be best to go with what is currently available: Remdesivir and dexamethasone.
With regards to the face mask, he said he only uses "a pretty ugly normal mask" that he changes daily. "Maybe I should get a designer mask or something creative, but I just use this surgical-looking mask," he added.
Meanwhile, the American billionaire also said that the pandemic has limited his travels. However, he is enjoying the time when he could work with his kids around. "The pandemic sadly is less painful for those who were better off before the pandemic," he said.
The road to the cheapest vaccine
However, the philanthropist is concerned about the cost of how these jabs are being produced, which will surely not be affordable. Yet, he vows to produce a vaccine that would cost as low as $3 when he donated $150 million to the Serum Institute to produce 100 million shots.
Gates has already spent $4 billion on the vaccine development effort called Gavi. He shared that he is focused on the vaccines that developing countries can afford like those being developed by Novavax and AstraZeneca.
Gates set a "ceiling price" for these vaccines. He is using his own money, billions of it to be able to distribute it as cheaply as possible through a tested supply chain. In the case of Serum, it will produce jabs for India and 91 other developing countries.
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Written by CJ Robles