AGENCIES, Washington: Billionaire Bill Gates’s foundation has said that its his philanthropic work will focus on fighting the coronavirus, according to the Financial Times. The philanthropist and founder of Microsoft Corp. said that the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, with an endowment exceeding $40 billion, will give “total attention” to the pandemic that has killed more than 200,000 and is roiling economies around the world, he said.
“We’ve taken an organization that was focused on HIV and malaria and polio eradication, and almost entirely shifted it to work on this,” Gates said. Gates foundation is funding production of the seven most promising ideas for a vaccine as he refocuses on the deadly coronavirus.
If everything goes well, there might be an effective vaccine in less than 18 months, according to a tweet by Gates. If that happens, it would be the fastest a vaccine that has ever been developed.
If everything goes well, there might be an effective vaccine in less than 18 months—the fastest a vaccine has ever been developed. That will depend on decisions we make today, including the federal government investing in building up manufacturing capacity.
— Bill Gates (@BillGates) April 2, 2020
“This focus on the number of tests understates the cacophony and the mistakes we’ve made in the testing system,” Gates said. “The wrong people are being tested, and any time you don’t get results in less than 24 hours, the value of the test is dramatically reduced.”
Gates who is close to the US administration and frequently interacts with President Trump’s health advisors including Dr. Fauci , also defended the World Health Organization against accusations from US President Donald Trump that the body had mishandled the virus response.
“Dr Fauci and I have been fairly consistent to say 18 months to create expectations that are not too high,” Gates said, referring to Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and a member of the White House coronavirus task force.
The foundation has contributed $250 million to help counter the coronavirus so far, and is re-purposing units dedicated to fighting other diseases to join in the battle against the pandemic.
Gates defended the World Health Organization against accusations from Trump that the body had mishandled the virus response.