Billionaire Bill Gates has issued fresh warnings of doom that a new “even more fatal” variant of COVID-19 may be looming.
According to Microsoft co-founder Gates, there’s a large chance that “we’ve not seen the worst of Covid” yet.
The tech mogul and philanthropist issued the warnings of an “even more transmissive” variant while pushing for his proposed global task force that would handle the pandemic “threat.”
“We’re still at risk of this pandemic generating a variant that would be even more transmissive and even more fatal,” Gates told the Financial Times during a new interview.
“It’s not likely, I don’t want to be a voice of doom and gloom, but it’s way above a 5 percent risk that this pandemic, we haven’t even seen the worst of it.”
Gates, one of the world’s wealthiest people, has written a book called How to Prevent the Next Pandemic.
He is urging the creation of a multi-billion dollar team of international experts – ranging from epidemiologists to computer modelers – to identify threats and improve international coordination.
Gates says the task force must be created urgently to quickly identify global health threats and improve coordination between countries.
“It seems wild to me that we could fail to look at this tragedy and not, on behalf of the citizens of the world, make these investments,” Gates told the Financial Times.
He called his plan the Global Epidemic Response and Mobilization initiative and said it should be managed by the WHO – the only body he claimed was capable to build and manage the “top-notch” team of experts at a cost of around $1bn a year.
He acknowledged there were questions over whether an international consensus could be reached to increase funding for WHO.
“The amount of money involved is very small compared to the benefit and it will be a test: can global institutions take on new responsibilities in an excellent way, even in a time period where US-China [relations are] tough, US-Russia is extremely tough?” said Gates.
The WHO had “less than 10 full-time people” working on outbreak preparedness, said Gates.
“Even those people are distracted with many other activities,” he claims.
“The current WHO funding is not at all serious about pandemics,” he added.
Gates, who argued that there was an urgent need for longer-lasting vaccines that blocked infection, stressed that the current pandemic still poses a threat.