The Microsoft co-founder and medical school dean talked about the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on global health, the race for vaccines and therapeutics, and how to renew the faltering trust many Americans feel in science and medicine.
In 2015, on the heels of a frightening Ebola outbreak in Africa, Bill Gates gave a TED talk titled “The next outbreak? We’re not ready.” In it, he outlined ways in which the world was unprepared for a threat entirely different from the one his generation had grown up fearing.
“It’s not missiles; it’s microbes,” he asserted.
On Oct. 21, the Microsoft co-founder recalled that talk when he spoke with Lloyd Minor, MD, dean of the School of Medicine, during a StanfordMed LIVE event. They discussed the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on global health, the race for vaccines and therapeutics, and how to renew the faltering trust many Americans feel in science and medicine.
Gates’ wake-up call in 2015 included remarks about the importance of ensuring the availability of antiviral medications, therapeutic antibodies and high-speed diagnostic testing to prepare for a coming pandemic. “Sadly, not that much was done,” he told Minor. “The idea of ‘germ games’ to simulate what governments would need to do to move quickly — that didn’t take place.”
Gates noted that, as a result, the full scope of the COVID-19 crisis dwarfs what he had expected would happen in a pandemic.
“In 2015, I talked about a $3 trillion economic cost,” he said. “In this pandemic, even though the death rate is way lower than it might have been, the economic devastation has been much greater. It will easily get to $10 [trillion] or perhaps even $15 trillion overall over the next two years before we really get completely back to normal.”Original Source