Bill Gates, the billionaire co-founder of Microsoft, has cautioned that a technology-based action plan is needed to guard against future pandemics similar to how we “prepare ourselves for war.”
Gates, whose charitable Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation disburses nearly $4 billion worldwide, urged the international community to apply lessons learned from the Ebola crisis to develop a plan for future outbreaks. One strategy would be to create volunteer teams able to respond quickly to a public health emergency, the Agence-France Presse reported.
“A more difficult pathogen [than Ebola] could come along, a form of flu, a form of SARS or some type of virus that we haven’t seen before,” Gates told the AFP.
“We don’t know it will happen but it’s a high enough chance that one of the lessons of Ebola should be to ask ourselves: are we as ready for that as we should be? A good comparison is that we prepare ourselves for war — we have planes and training and we practise.”
Gates outlined his fears in a speech in Berlin for the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunisation alliance, which delivers vaccines to the Global South. His warning comes on the heels of a World Bank statement that the globe is “dangerously unprepared” for another public health emergency similar to the Ebola outbreak.