Bill Gates shares the 5 key innovations that are crucial to overcoming the coronavirus pandemic
- Bill Gates just laid out what needs to happen to halt the coronavirus pandemic.
- Gates says we need innovations in areas like treatments, vaccines, and testing.
- "The coronavirus pandemic pits all of humanity against the virus," Gates said in his blog post. "This is like a world war, except in this case, we're all on the same side."
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Microsoft billionaire Bill Gates just laid out exactly what it'll take for us to halt the spread of the coronavirus and return to normal following the pandemic.
Gates shared his views in a lengthy post on his blog. He says the innovations need to come in five areas: treatments, vaccines, testing, contact tracing, and policies for reopening the economy.
Gates has long been vocal about the need to prepare for and prevent a pandemic. He's funded vaccine research as well as global health efforts via the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. He helped start the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations, which is funding research on potential coronavirus vaccines.
"The coronavirus pandemic pits all of humanity against the virus," Gates said in the post. "This is like a world war, except in this case, we're all on the same side."
Here's what Gates shared on each area he views as essential to overcoming the coronavirus.
- Gates said we need a coronavirus treatment that's roughly 95% effective for people to feel comfortable with going to big public events again. If we don't have any treatments that are that good, we'll need a vaccine to help us return to normal, he warns.
- Gates acknowledges the challenges of developing a vaccine quickly for the coronavirus, saying a typical immunization can take 5 years to bring to market. He says he thinks the 18-month time frame given by government officials is most likely, but that it could take longer, or go slightly faster.
- Testing has a crucial role to play in helping countries reopen, and needs to be widely available for anyone with coronavirus symptoms as well as people who've come into contact with them. Gates says performing a lot of coronavirus tests at home would be ideal.
- Tracking down people who've been in contact with those infected with the coronavirus, known as contact tracing, can help prevent outbreaks from surging, Gates says. He says it's important to hire more people to perform this work, and that he expects many countries to follow the approach of Germany, which requires a lot of work.
- Decisions about how to reopen different parts of the economy will be challenging, and will require government leaders to weigh tradeoffs, Gates says. He says schools should reopen quickly because they provide a large benefit to society, while large events like sports games should wait longer. Many other decisions will need to be made, he notes, like how many people can be seated at a restaurant or how to reconfigure factories to spread out workers.
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